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Presentation technology whets patients’ appetites for treatment

Aug. 1, 2007
Effective treatment communication, the capability to arrange information in an organized and even attractive manner, can transform a really good dental practice into an exceptional dental practice.

by Brad Durham, DMD

span class="02aFirstLinehighlight" >Effective treatment communication, the capability to arrange information in an organized and even attractive manner, can transform a really good dental practice into an exceptional dental practice. To illustrate the importance of case presentation from a service perspective, I often take team members to restaurants to view how presentation affects our perception.

Integrated charts and images offer a unified approach for presentations
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Fast-food place: The service is hurried; the different items are placed haphazardly on the tray; the food is covered under layers of paper. The customer feels like just another participant in the rat race against time.

Easily drag and drop images from imaging software to other programs
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Upscale restaurant: The server elicits your preferences and explains the choices. The food, meticulously arranged on the plate, reflects care and skill in preparation. You leave the restaurant eager to try new dishes, and confident to recommend them to your friends.

The dental office: Using the proper tools for case presentation leaves patients with a good taste in their mouths regarding your procedures, your staff, your office, and your skill level.

During the examination, the dentist must take the time to discover the patient’s expectations, both in dental health as well as cosmetics. As you define a treatment plan and outline what services you can provide, your patient is weighing why your practice is exceptional.

Specialized software designed to capture, store, and display the patient’s dental record gives the patient a visual indication of your thoroughness and attention to detail. Even before patients’ first appointments, we treat them to a video tour to raise expectations. In the initial visit we gather their digital images, and using our technology, assemble a view of their smile so they can see themselves as others do.

Managing all of this information can be cumbersome. Here’s where our technology gives us a boost. Images can be shared among other programs and seamlessly integrated with practice-management software, so it all appears as a cohesive unit. Then, we display all this integrated information on our 42-inch plasma screen.

My patients can preview thumbnails of all available digital images in a floating window that automatically synchronizes with their record. Clicking on the thumbnail instantly displays a full-size image - with no need to leave the charting program.

For a more creative presentation, we can isolate images, “parking” them in the presentation panel. We then can drag them into our PowerPoint template to depict the true and vivid story of the mouth and what it can look like. To further illustrate the possible solutions, we can incorporate video testimonials of similar treatments to make the process even easier to understand.

Case presentation through our integrated software programs fosters expectations and increases the value of our work in the patient’s eyes. The software also allows us to easily create not only still-image profiles, but something more exceptional - a comprehensive and personal presentation, one that builds a trusting relationship. Like fine dining, it gives the patient food for thought and a new appreciation of our cosmetic and health-related procedures, and puts new ideas on the table regarding future treatment.

Dr. Brad Durham has practiced dentistry for 25 years with an emphasis on the treatment of head, neck, and facial pain, dental cosmetics, and complex dental reconstruction. His practice combines art, science, and technology with personalized care. He is a clinical and featured instructor at the Las Vegas Institute, and was the first in the world to earn the LVI Mastership award for esthetic reconstruction. Dr. Durham teaches a series of courses titled “The Niche Practice” at LVI and his home in Savannah, Ga. Contact him at [email protected] and www.nichepractice.com.

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