The Path to Success: 5 Key Principles for Dentists Adding Orthodontics to Their Practices
Seamlessly Incorporating Orthodontics Into Your General Practice
Offering orthodontic services helps you increase revenue, improve patient care, and retain more patients. That’s why so many dentists are completing orthodontic courses geared specifically toward general dentists.
In fact, the number of general dentists who offer orthodontic treatments has been increasing steadily since the 1990s. If you’re ready to add a new service line to your general practice, here are 5 principles to implement for a smooth transition.
Principle 1: Comprehensive Orthodontic Training
The most important thing you can do before starting to offer orthodontic services is get the right training. A comprehensive training program gives you the knowledge and skills you need to select just the right cases, provide high-quality service, and retain as many patients as possible. And satisfied patients are far more likely to refer their friends and family members, increasing production even further.
Attending general-dentist orthodontic CE courses also helps you to stay up to date on current trends. Armed with the most recent orthodontic advances, you can set a higher standard of care, which will encourage happy patients to leave positive reviews of your practice and draw in even more new patients. Synergy Orthodontic Seminars has industry-leading experts available to help you learn more about adding orthodontics to your general dental practice.
Principle 2: Strategic Case Selection
Choosing the right cases is one of the best ways to maximize your orthodontic revenue potential. At first, it’s best to stick with patients who only have mild crowding, no history of periodontal disease, and no open bite or crossbite. Once you have more experience, you may feel comfortable working with patients who have mixed dentition or more severe malocclusion.
To select the right cases, you must conduct a thorough evaluation, consider the patient’s oral health, and understand the limitations associated with delivering orthodontic services in a general-practice setting. When deciding whether to accept a case, you must consider several factors: treatment objectives, complexity of malocclusion, and likelihood of patient compliance.
Principle 3: Patient-Centric Approach
Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to general dental care, there’s no single approach to orthodontic treatment that works for every patient. Therefore, it’s essential to engage in personalized treatment planning, which considers the unique needs and expectations of each patient.
Delivering a patient-centric approach requires mastery in effective communication to build rapport with each patient and get their input prior to presenting your recommended treatment plan.
Principle 4: Marketing and Practice Promotion
“If you build it, they will come” does not apply to dental practices. You must consistently market your practice and work on creating a strong brand. Great branding will differentiate you from your competitors and help you build a positive reputation in your community. Done right, this is one of the most powerful ways to attract your ideal patients.
It’s important to have a professional website and use as many digital marketing channels as possible. In many cases, digital marketing is much less expensive than traditional advertising, making it one of the most cost-effective ways to find new patients.
A good dental practice website should have the following pages:
- Home: Think of the home page as the digital equivalent of your reception area. Make it as clean and welcoming as possible.
- Services: Provide a complete list of services, along with a short description of each, to help prospective patients determine if you’re a good fit for their needs.
- Team: Potential patients need to trust you before they’ll come to your office for an evaluation. One way to build trust is to post high-quality photos of yourself and your team.
- Contact: Ideally, include at least two contact methods, such as a telephone number and an email address.
Patient Testimonials, Referral Programs, and Community Engagement
Referrals are one of the most effective forms of marketing. When one of your patients tells a friend or family member about your services, it’s like they’re giving you a seal of approval. For most people, it’s easier to trust this type of recommendation than it is to trust television ads or direct mail. Once you start offering orthodontics, you need to make it as easy as possible for your patients to submit testimonials, review your practice online, and give referrals to their loved ones.
Getting involved in the community is another great way to grow your practice. For example, setting up a booth at a health fair can get your services in front of hundreds of potential patients. You may also want to have an open house or sponsor other events.
Principle 5: Ongoing Professional Development
Patient-centric dentistry is only one piece of the puzzle. After you add orthodontics to your practice, you must participate in continuing education programs, attend conferences, and join professional associations. These activities help you stay up to date on the latest treatment techniques and technical advancements. When you’re committed to lifelong learning, it’s easier to attract patients and keep them happy.
Starting With the First Principle
Finally taking the first step toward adding orthodontics to your general dental practice may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the principles outlined above, it is completely possible to grow your practice while avoiding many of the typical hurdles that come with practice expansion. Your first action step is the educational piece: getting a solid orthodontic foundation through comprehensive orthodontic CE courses designed specifically for general dentists. Browse our upcoming events today to get started.