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Dental Case Acceptance: Is Education and Inside Out Totally Upside Down?

November 2nd, 2007 · No Comments

Will educating patients seal the deal? Dr. Paul Homoly, CSP, says maybe not. Dr. Homoly wrote "Don’t Let Raising Your Patient’s Dental IQ Interfere with Case Acceptance" for this month’s Dentaltown. His take on the education philosophy is that for dental work under $3500, educating the patient is important for case acceptance. However, for treatment plans over $3500, boosting dental IQ may not land the case. Why is that?

Every patient who can afford dentistry can also afford the finer, and funner, things in life – but they likely do not have unlimited resources. They want the best of both worlds. They want dentistry to comfortably fit within their life, without hampering their lifestyle.

Inside Out

Dr. Homoly explains that traditionally, dentists present cases from the inside out. They explain what the issues are in the mouth and suggest magnificent, miraculous treatment plans to optimize oral health and beauty. Many dentists rely on patient education for case acceptance at this point. After all, if people know the problems and future implications, and they are truly interested in good health, they will proceed as you planned. Right? Then the dentist learns about the outside factors – like budget, schedule, and other life factors. "For uncomplicated dentistry with a fee of $3500 or less, an inside-out approach works well. The fees and time in treatment are such that most patients can proceed without undue hardships or inconveniences," Homoly writes. More expensive cases may cramp their style, for any number of reasons.

Outside In

Now, consider working outside-in. First, you learn about the patient’s external concerns in regards to dentistry, then discuss a treatment plan that works in harmony with those factors. Dr. Homoly claims that you’ll save "incredible amounts of time" and won’t surprise your patients, which will make them more comfortable with you and your practice.

Fit Issues

Consider the "fit" issues. How will dentistry fit into your patient’s life? Will it be an inconvenience? Do the benefits outweigh the hurdles? Learn about the fit factors – which may include work, money, travel plans, health issues, etc. Then learn about more personal fit factors – like divorce, marriage, birth of a child, graduation, new job, etc. If your team gets in touch with the patient, learns about the fit factors, and asks for the patient’s permission to share the information with you so that you can help fit dentistry into the patient’s situation, your case acceptance will likely increase.

Dental IQ

So what’s the role of increasing dental IQ in case acceptance? It is supposed to be the golden gate to case acceptance! Dr. Homoly suggests that you don’t blame low dental IQ for low case acceptance. Instead, make it personal. Get to know your patients, outside and in, then custom-fit dentistry for their lives.

Read the Dentaltown article here.

Tags: Case Presentation · Uncategorized