Tooth Whitening has been a regular part of dental practice for long enough that we can loose some perspective on the valuable role it plays. In a recent blog post by Gary Takacs he quoted a USA Today survey that showed 85% of the respondents wanted whiter teeth. My day to day experience aligns with this, as the most common esthetic treatment my patients ask for is whitening. Providing whitening in my office is a valuable service on multiple levels. First I am providing a service that my patients want, increases their confidence and makes them feel better about themselves. Whitening is a safe, comfortable way to begin a conversation with patients about esthetics and the appearance of their teeth. In my experience many of my patients struggle with not wanting to appear vain or not certain what their options are for altering how their teeth look. Whitening has become a daily part of our interactions, is highly accepted and as a starting place often launches a more extensive discussion of the options in esthetic dentistry. I am a fan of any dental appointments where I can spend time with my patients, have a chance to build on our relationship, continue our dialogs about their dental health and provide a valuable service that does not require local anesthetic or a hand piece. Lastly, whitening can be the first opportunity patients have had to evaluate their smiles, and begin to take note of the things they like or don’t about it.
All of these points are the reason that many people refer to whitening as a gateway service, one that leads to other dental treatments. The next question is what are you doing to maintain or build the amount of whitening you do in your office? Gary’s blog has three great tips for boosting this part of your practice. One of the first things we have done in our office is offer a variety of whitening products and services, so we have a solution that fits the patients preferences. Many of our patients opt for an in office process with Venus Max because they aren’t sure they will reliably utilize trays or want a quick color change before a wedding or important event. Others who want more control over the end result opt for having trays made and utilizing the Venus White Pro at home. Other patients can opt for a professional system that is more economical with Venus Ultra pre-filled trays. Once you figure out the mix of whitening services you will offer, the next question is how to let your patients know what’s available. In my experience the most reliable process is for our team to have conversations with patients about whitening. The challenge is to keep the conversation fresh and maintain a high level of energy about our whitening programs. Changing our customized marketing materials and running seasonal promotions put new energy into our conversations, and spark patients to ask us about their options.