Many dentists have learned to perform comprehensive exams and create equally comprehensive treatment plans for new patients. However, such thoroughness is often absent in relationships with existing patients. To make the most of what you already have -- and to enable patients to decide what's best for themselves -- you should present ideal treatment to every patient.
Serve as the oral healthcare advisor for your patients. You have value for your patients beyond performing dental procedures. You can and should also be the expert they can trust for the information and advice they need to take full advantage of what modern dentistry offers. Rather than waiting for patients to come to you when they have a problem, be proactive. Recommend implants, adult orthodontics, whitening -- whatever you believe would be ideal treatment for them -- so they can make a choice based on how they will benefit.
Don't forget to update existing patients on new options. The longer the patient-practice relationship, the more likely it is that the patient will be unaware of newer services you offer -- unless you make a point of informing them. This doesn't necessarily mean making a case presentation. An occasional, "Did you know ..." will often start a discussion that leads to treatment.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the chairman and CEO of practice management consulting firm Levin Group. You can connect with Levin Group on Facebook and Twitter (@Levin_Group) to learn more strategies and share ideas. Also, check out Dr. Levin's free practice management videos at www.levingroup.com/gp.
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