Dentistry is all about changing lives. Patients come for us to rid them of pain, provide them preventative dental care, get their smile back, and more. We have the power to improve their lives dramatically through the treatment we provide.
But sometimes, patients won’t accept treatment after we’ve presented it to them. They’ll refuse for a variety of reasons, and it’s to their own detriment. We might have a tough time watching them stroll out the door, suffering, when we have the power to fix their pain. But, for them, it means they’re just kicking the can down the road for a more complex procedure or they’re simply not going from day to day with the confident smile they deserve.
So, if you want to change lives as a dental professional, you’ll need to know how to get patients to accept treatment. Here are three ways you can increase case acceptance.
1. Always keep space on your schedule for urgent care or same-day-treatment.
Sometimes patients will come in with a need for urgent care, willing to accept treatment as soon as possible. But, sometimes, you won’t be able to accept their case because you simply don’t have space on the schedule for it. We’re in the business of dentistry to give patients treatment and alleviate them from pain or health problems. When we turn someone away for urgent care, it’s really depressing for us.
Likewise, when a patient needs treatment because they’re in pain but they don’t need urgent care, it also can feel depressing to turn them away. It’s a damper on the mood to know they have to suffer for another day or two before you can give them treatment. So, always keep space on your schedule to give yourself wiggle room in case someone needs urgent care or same-day-treatment.
2. Offer alternative payment options.
Running a practice is running a business. And handling all the payment options and financial elements of a business isn’t something we went to school for. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get innovative and try our hand at using payment options to our advantage.
Sometimes patients need alternative payment methods. Payment can be a complicated matter for some, and for others it can become a bitter dispute even after treatment has been given. But if you offer alternatives—membership plans, insurance options, discount packages, etc.—patients will be more likely to accept treatment as they understand it’s affordable for them.
3. Show your patients the value of receiving treatment, not the cost.
Additionally, to add to that last point, getting dental treatment can be expensive. That’s why many patients simply won’t accept treatment. They might even be in pain, but the cost of getting the treatment they need just isn’t worth it to them. They’d rather suck it up than thin their wallets. Or, in other cases, they simply think they don’t need treatment just yet and wait till things get worse.
As dental professionals, we know how important it is for patients to get treatment when they need it. And the best way we can help them to get that treatment is to get them to see the value in it rather than the cost of it. When they understand how they’ll benefit from treatment, they’ll be more likely to accept treatment.
So, when you’re discussing a treatment plan with a patient, make sure you show them you care about the value they’ll receive. From the moment they walk through your practice doors, make it clear that your priority is improving their lives. Convince them you aren’t just looking to make money off of them. Rather than just getting down to business, connect with them through conversation. Talk to your patients about their life—what are their hobbies, passions, interests, etc.? Do they have family? What do they do for a living? A patient might not want to do much chit chat, but if they do, then that chitter chatter can make you more relatable to them. They’ll trust you more as you build rapport with them and they’ll be more likely to accept treatment as a result.
What are you doing to help your patients get treatment?
There are so many strategies to get patients to accept treatment. What are yours? Let us know in the comments below!
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