|Choosing an orthodontist carries great responsibility, as it has a very clear effect on a person’s aesthetics and health. The majority of orthodontic patients are children, leaving the responsibility on parents to choose the right caregiver and treatment type. This task is taken very seriously, and followed by weeks of research.
In this article, we have gathered the considerations that help parents and patients in general make up the final decision – who to choose as their Orthodontist.
Awareness and knowledge – of the treatment’s importance, orthodontist’s existence
Acknowledgement of orthodontists and their expertise is a vital first step. A patient must distinguish between a dentist’s role and an orthodontist’s role, while choosing whom to approach for treatment.
Awareness can be achieved through schools and teachers, family physicians, governmental programs and the media.
Need and Treatment Motivation
Today, aesthetics is very important. Our role models showcase perfect smiles in the media and we want our kids and ourselves to have that too. In addition, there is also the element of healthcare when it comes to orthodontics (sleep disorders, painful teeth misalignment).
The patient’s need has to be there, either from the healthcare or aesthetics sides, in order to turn to a specialist. If the problem isn’t troubling enough, the condition may be left untreated.
Credibility, References and Trust – of the Practice and Orthodontist
Education is part of the credibility Orthodontists have. Patients normally check their physician’s education, and certification, while also want to ensure they are a Board Certified. This demonstrates a higher commitment and dedication, given the standards requirements.
References (recommendations by experienced friends) are also an important element patients look for. Word-of-mouth, recommendation, testimonials all act as great reference for a patient.
Technologically Equipped Clinic
People expect to receive leading treatment and to also fully understand it. The technology is available through improved software, larger screens, full images, laser innovations, advanced treatment materials, online Cephalometric analysis…etc. Orthodontists willing to ensure their clinic is staffed with leading technology and able to showcase it, are more likely to gain the customer.
Trusting the doctor from an education perspective isn’t enough – if the personal connection isn’t there. Each patient looks for an assuring and easy-going caregiver, who is willing to listen to their questions, concerns and fears. Many doctors today may be very well educated, with lots of experience, but are less attentive to the emotional side of the treatment. In situations as such, the patient will prefer to seek a different doctor, especially if there is a larger choice available nearby.
Affordable Costs & Payments
Affordable treatment prices are an important part of the patient’s decision making process, however it’s normally mentioned after overcoming the barriers mentioned earlier. It’s vital for the patient to first check their treatment type, and only then find out if they can afford it, considering various payment/finance options.
Many practices provide different payment terms, specifically since the actual orthodontic care is normally spread out through several months or even years.
Availability and Location
A treatment plan may be laid out over months and years, which is why patients tend to also choose their orthodontist according to the practice’s location and ease of travel. Ensuring they can make the appointments, without loosing too much work or school days, due to traffic or parking issues is important.
Every Orthodontist can play a major role in every single part of the listed items. Awareness creation, motivation, market education
- Marketing plan – Maintain an online and social marketing plan, as that’s where most Patients start their research nowadays! Be sure to be listed on local/online directories, community organizations, healthcare programs.
- Keep up to date – with new technologies, innovations, and treatment types. This will ensure your market competitiveness positioning.
- Have your references, case studies, education easy to find. These can be publicized on the web, social media channels, and reviews by local/national magazines.
- Make sure you choose a friendly staff with a welcoming and warm attitude.
- Give back to the community – It’s always great to provide some pro-bono help. The community appreciates it, and increases your clinic’s credibility
- Be ready for lots of questions, even if they sound repetitious or obvious.
- Position your clinic in a good location, with good access to public transportation and parking.