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Dental Trends Your Practice Should Consider

Dental Trends Your Practice Should Consider

Like many other industries, things have changed in the dental world. The pandemic has caused many businesses to go virtual and, in doing so, it has opened up opportunities to interact with customers and patients in the same way.

Below are trends dental practice owners may want to look at implementing in their practices. Some of these you may already be doing and some you are not. Not every trend is a good fit for every practice but some of these may help your practice move forward.

Make Convenience a Priority

Everyone loves convenience, and dental patients are no exception. What ideas can your practice use to provide patients with more convenient ways to interact with you? A few related ideas are discussed in later trends but here are a few others to think about:

Expanded Office Hours

Do you get feedback from patients who say they wish you were open a little later during the weekdays or perhaps open a few hours on the weekend? If this is the case, you may want to consider staying open longer a couple days a week to expand your availability to customers. Of course, you have to weigh labor costs versus the number of patients you serve during these extended hours.

Dental Apps to Streamline Your Practice

It seems there are apps for everything these days, and dental practices are no exception. Research and find an app that will allow you to manage your practice’s patients, appointments, and financial information. The right app will allow you to easily get a snapshot of the health of your practice when you want it.

Telehealth and Live Video

There is no substitute for an in-person visit, but there may be times when a video call can offer dentists insight before an in-person visit and provide patient consultation as well. This option also makes it easier for practices to consult with the elderly and shut-in individuals and can possibly help ease anxiety for those who fear the dentist's chair.

Text Messaging

As with apps, people are using text messaging more than ever. Many services offer this option for delivery notification of packages, bill payment reminders, and more. Offer this service to send appointment reminders, asking patients to respond to confirm, and also to cancel appointments if necessary. Texts are not as intrusive as phone calls and in today’s busy world, reminders are almost always welcome. Just make sure to get the patient’s consent before starting this communication method.

3D Printing

3D printing has exploded in popularity in recent years. It seems there is no limit to what you can print or make. There are many uses for 3D printing in the dental industry.

Click the link below to view an article by the Institute of Digital Dentistry discussing the different uses of 3D printing in dentistry:

3D Printing in Dentistry – Technology Overview and Options

You may not be in a position to invest in the equipment to do your own 3D printing. If this is the case, look for local businesses you may be able to partner with and see if 3D printing is a viable economic option for you.

Focus on Patient Experience

For some, going to the dentist’s office is something they dread. For others, it’s something they do twice a year and try to cram their appointments into their busy schedules. Whatever the situation, it’s very important that your practice provides the best experience possible. Here are some ideas that focus on the patient experience:

  • Provide videos in the waiting area, maybe something travel-related or animals doing funny things. Keep away from videos showing dental procedures or slides showing examples of gingivitis. This won’t help comfort those with dental anxiety.
  • Make time at the end of appointments for the patient to be able to ask their dentist or hygienist questions. Many times, dentists are popping in from room to room making quick visits with patients at the end of appointments, usually eager to get to the next room. By making time at the end, you increase the patient experience by giving them time to ask any questions they may have.
  • Inevitably, earlier appointments will run long, pushing all later appointments back. In instances where this happens, do you have a way to contact the patient to let them know their appointment is delayed? Use text messages to send a quick note that their appointment is running 15 minutes behind schedule. They will appreciate the heads-up and can plan to arrive a little later than normal. This will also help with waiting room congestion.
  • If your practice has children as patients, create a “kids area” in or near your waiting area. This will provide them with a distraction while waiting, calming their nerves and passing the waiting time more quickly.

Going Green - Natural Dental Products

Saving the environment is a cause many people support. For some, it’s a lifestyle only using products made from all-natural ingredients or using services that follow a “green” philosophy.

Think about offering all-natural products to patients or advertise that your company is “eco-friendly” in its methods. You will open up your practice to a new demographic of potential patients that have the environment in mind when selecting a dental practice.

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Biz Tip Topic Expert: Ryan High, EA

Ryan High, EA

Ryan is a Senior Manager with SVA Certified Public Accountants with expertise in the healthcare and dental industries. Ryan provides a variety of accounting, tax and consulting services for his individual and business clients. These services include profitability analyses, business and individual tax planning as well as tax return preparation.

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