Top 5 tips to grow your whitening business

2013 04 30 11 03 23 634 Smile 200

Breakings news: More people would invest in fixing the appearance of their teeth before investing in weight loss help, according to a 2012 study conducted by Kelton Global.

Gary Takacs.Gary Takacs.
Gary Takacs.

The most common smile enhancement service today is teeth whitening. The survey findings demonstrate interest in smiling enhancement services and the opportunity to grow the whitening business in your practice. In the same survey, nearly 50% of the respondents reported that a healthy, beautiful smile can defy aging effects. With an aging population more interested than ever in their health and appearance, now is the perfect time to develop strategies to grow your whitening business and help your office embrace professional whitening such as Philips Zoom.

Here are four reasons why it makes sense to do this now:

  • Whitening creates better patients. Patients often brush better, are more likely to floss, and are more committed to keeping future appointments after whitening. They are simply more interested in their teeth after they have undergone a whitening treatment.

  • Whitening is profitable.Growing your whitening business enhances your bottom line since it is a service largely administered by the wider team, requiring minimal doctor time.

  • Whitening creates increased interest in cosmetic and restorative services. Whitening is a "gateway service" that often leads to greater patient interest in other dental treatments. It is not unusual for whitening to be the first step to a complete smile makeover.

  • Whitening creates positive practice buzz. Patients who whiten their teeth are more engaged patients, and they love to tell others about their positive whitening experiences. This can be especially useful with social media and online reviews.

With these benefits in mind, here are five tips to grow your whitening business:

  1. Take a shade match at the beginning of the hygiene appointment. This technique is a great way to initiate a whitening discussion with the patient. Your hygienist can consider starting the conversation using the following:

    Hygienist: "Linda, I am going to start our appointment today by taking a shade match of your current tooth color. The reason I am doing this is that we now know that tooth color changes over time. It tends to darken with age. By taking a shade match of your tooth color today, I will have it for our records."

    Then the hygienist can show the patient his or her tooth color on a shade guide ordered chromatically from dark to light.

  2. Offer lifetime whitening. Consider providing your patients free touch-up gel during their hygiene appointments, provided they keep their regularly scheduled visits. This win/win solution is a positive incentive to encourage patients to keep their appointments and also serves to help the patient maintain a white, bright smile. The minor cost of providing additional gel is more than offset by increased patient loyalty.

  3. Develop a culture of offering whitening today. Whitening is always most effective when it closely follows a hygiene appointment. If the patient shows interest in whitening, consider getting started today. By cross-training as many team members as possible to provide chairside whitening, dentists might be able to add whitening procedures to their schedules. If providing at-home whitening, dentists can take the impressions for their custom whitening trays today. Developing a can-do team spirit about providing whitening at the time of the initial conversation can be an important element of growing your whitening business.

  4. Set a goal of providing one whitening procedure per day. Very few dental practices are anywhere near their whitening potential. Consider establishing a practice goal of providing one whitening procedure per day. You may have heard the saying "things that are measured improve." I have found this concept to be especially true in the dental office!

  5. Assign a "whitening champion."One of the reasons very few dental practices achieve their whitening potential is that whitening can easily become a forgotten service in the hubbub of a busy practice. To keep whitening top-of-mind, consider assigning a particular team member as your whitening champion. While the entire team should be involved with whitening in one way or another, your whitening champion can be your quarterback of the project. This person can be responsible for ordering supplies, training other team members, organizing internal marketing, reporting results at team meetings, and generally leading the project to grow your whitening business.

Helping your patients have the whitest, brightest smiles is a great strategy in any economy. Patients today want to look their very best, and many patients place a premium on a smile that is as white and bright as possible. Giving patients what they want is a powerful practice builder since having a whiter smile tops many patients' dental wish lists. Consider the tips provided as a means of achieving your ultimate whitening potential. Here's to your success!

Gary Takacs is a frequently requested speaker at dental conferences, where his courses are recognized for being both educational and entertaining. Gary is also the founder of the No. 1 dental podcast on iTunes, the "Thriving Dentist Show," which has been downloaded by dentists in 100 countries. For more information about Gary, visit

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