A guide to leveraging your dental staff to increase Clear Aligner case acceptance
There are many opportunities to increase your practice’s revenue while providing your patients with the treatments they need, but perhaps none is a simpler unlock than ensuring that your staff educates patients about Clear Aligners. They are often the ideal proactive or curative treatment for a majority of the patients sitting in your hygienist’s chair, looking to improve their smile.
It is worth it to the patient. Clear Aligners are not simply for aesthetic purposes, though many patients are looking for inexpensive ways to enhance their smile. Crowded or misaligned teeth are harder to clean. The resulting tartar and plaque buildup can lead to serious issues, including a higher likelihood of getting cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems.
They might be cheaper than patients think. Clear Aligners are part of most FSA programs and 25% of patients have orthodontic benefits but are not aware of them.
The value to your practice will be greatly increased. The Average Patient Lifetime Value (estimation of the net profit that the entire future relationship with the patient can generate) is $8,000-$10,000–this can increase by 50% or more with a single Clear Aligner treatment. With nine out of 10 people suffering from malocclusion that can be treated with Dandy Clear Aligners, you see how much you can increase your revenue.
By having your staff trained on how to identify and talk about the impacts of malocclusion on oral health the team’s efforts toward profitability are maximized, and you get precious time back to be the leader of your practice. Once you work this into standard operating procedures, you’ll see the impact in profits within the practice and will allow for more time spent on different initiatives through the office.
Incentivize and activate your staff
Every member of your practice has a unique touchpoint with the patient during which it makes sense to introduce Clear Aligners. Patients also develop different levels of trust and comfortability with members of your staff so it is imperative to incentivize all of them to have active conversations about Clear Aligners. Here’s the roles they can play in the patient journey.
Low risk, low pain, high value
- The hygienist is often the most trusted staff member by the patient. Patients spend more time with hygienists than other staff members in the practice and as a result hygienists have the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with patients.
- The atmosphere is typically less stressful as seeing the hygienist doesn’t typically hurt but many patients can sometimes tend to be apprehensive about seeing the dentist themselves.
- While the hygienist is cleaning the teeth, they should discuss the malocclusion with the patient. It is a perfect time to educate them on the benefits of correcting the malocclusion and the consequences of not correcting it.
Ask questions and plant the seed
- Patients see dental assistants as more clinical and as a direct line to the doctor, with issues that may be arising.
- While the dental assistant is taking X-rays, reviewing medical history, asking the patient why they are there today, and what their chief complaint is, they have another opportunity to identify potential Dandy Clear Aligner cases both through observation and pointed questioning (see below).
- They can also introduce the service as it is one of the few that dental patients seek outside the dental office—and you don’t want your profit walking out your door. “By the way, we’re now offering Clear Aligners if you are interested!”
Always be closing
- It’s important for them to know the patient’s insurance capabilities and to provide the patient with different affordable payment options for Clear Aligners.
- This staff member should also then reinforce to the patient the benefits and the consequences of correcting and not correcting their malocclusion. The more monetary data they can give, the better.
- Be flexible on the timeline for service and payment. Discuss which payment option (large down payment, smaller monthly payments vs. small down payment, higher monthly payments) works best for that patient!
Ask probing questions
Are you getting a lot of food stuck in this area?
When the staff is taking X-rays or performing a cleaning it’s great to identify areas of concern and ask the patient if they notice they have a particular issue. Each of these questions can lead to a Clear Aligner conversation.
“What do you like most about your smile?”
“Tell me what you like least about your smile.”
“Do you feel that when you chew you can chew properly?”
“Do you bite your cheeks when you eat?”
“Are you getting a lot of food stuck in this area?”
“Is floss getting caught in this area?”
“When you brush your teeth do you find that you bleed a lot in this area?”
Enhance the conversation with visual aids
Place the brochures in a high-touch, visible area of the practice. While the patient is waiting to be seen they can browse the pamphlet, or even while they are in the chair waiting to see the dentist, make sure they have marketing material to read.
Patients love to see results. Have before and after pictures for them to look at while waiting. Better yet, if you have a member of your staff who is currently in treatment they can speak about how happy they are they started treatment when they did!
Clear Aligner Samples
People love to handle the merchandise. Let the patient hold the aligner to see the intricacies and lightness of the appliance. Tell them it will take about a week to really get used to it and they may talk with a bit of a lisp but that will soon resolve itself once they adjust.
Seeing is believing
Show them their teeth! Examples help put a patient in the mindset but to get them to adopt they may need to see their personal issues for themselves. Once you show them their teeth, it becomes real.
Take a set of photos before a cleaning and another set after a cleaning and show the patient the side-by-side images. Seeing the difference makes them realize “Oh wow I really did build up a lot of calculus” and therefore they may become a bit more prone to follow through with that Clear Aligner treatment.
One of the wonderful benefits of digital dentistry is the intraoral scanner. Scans can be both predictive and show the history of regression. “This is where you were six months ago, and this is where you are now. Look at your gums and how they’ve receded. Look at your teeth and how they’ve worn. This is due to the malocclusion that you’re having that we can fix with Clear Aligners.”
Treatment plan viewer
A good treatment planning tool is a great way to increase Clear Aligner case treatment acceptance. Not only does it impact the types of cases you can treat, it also provides patients with a tangible view of how their teeth will shift over the course of their treatment. Dental practices that work with Dandy can leverage the treatment plan viewer to provide patients with a time-lapse view of the entire treatment plan, from start to finish, both with and without attachments, slits, and cutouts, so they can see exactly how their smile will evolve with clear aligners.
Few things in life can be foreseen, but thanks to modern digital dentistry your patient can realize the results of Dandy Clear Aligners. Train your staff to help your patients learn about the treatment and in turn maximize your profit with more Clear Aligner case acceptance.