The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly everyone in dentistry. Dentistry is considered a high risk environment for dentists, staff, and patients because of aerosol production, but on the contrary it is one of the safer healthcare sectors because of the strict safety precautions offices take. How can dentists convey to their patients the importance of maintaining their dental appointments? Can dental offices economically survive the pandemic?
Dental offices are in a unique position to help maintain their patients oral care, but also successfully run a business. Dental overhead is higher than most areas of healthcare so it is important to maintain a full schedule with an adequate number of staff. There are several key ways to help sustain and even increase your productivity during the pandemic.
Patients want to know they are safe when going to the dentist. Let your patients know your Covid-19 protocols and how your office is abiding by the American Dental Association (ADA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. A few ideas to present your safety protocols are to send an email, text, or written communication. Create a pop-up on your website informing patients about social distancing and temperature checks. A Covid-19 screening also helps put patients' minds at ease knowing you are taking the pandemic seriously.
Oral healthcare is essential
Pandemic or not, dental health is considered an important part of our overall health. Neglecting routine dental visits can lead to serious oral health consequences including extensive treatment, pain, infection, and pricey out-of-pocket costs. It is more essential than ever to convey how a patient’s oral health can directly impact their general health. Leaving necessary dental work untreated can cause a patient harm in the future so recommending visits now will keep them healthy and you busy.
A good way to reach out to your patients is to schedule a personal phone call and discuss your patient’s healthcare needs using teledentistry. Teledentistry is an amazing way to have a consultation and discuss your patient’s needs prior to scheduling an actual visit. Many patients appreciate this new type of technology to avoid unnecessary visits and to help reduce the amount of people in an office;
Utilize social media.
There is no greater place to market to existing and potential new patients than social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Tiktok are wonderful options to keep your patients up-to-date on your office changes and any special promotions you’re holding. It is a good way to market cosmetic dental treatment like teeth whitening and Invisalign because patients are always looking for simple ways to improve their smile.
Work on your internal referrals.
These days schedules may look light due to patients rescheduling from a positive Covid-19 test or a recent exposure. Take advantage of your time and spend more time with current patients to discuss their oral healthcare needs and just get to know them personally. There may not be a better opportunity to really work on your current internal referrals when patients see how well you relate to them and spend the time to get to know them. Offer incentives to bring their family member in for a dental visit if the schedule is light or work on your overdue recall list.
By Dr. Anand, DDS | email@example.com