Most dentists and orthodontists are seeing a tremendous increase in the number of adult patients they’re seeing for orthodontic therapy. While there are a variety of reasons for this, many of them are related to the fact that today’s adults didn’t have access to getting braces as children. There’s also a greater appreciation for the health and alignment of the teeth, and how those characteristics affect someone’s personal, private, and professional life.
Unfortunately, getting patients through the front door to schedule an orthodontic consultation is only half of the battle. The other half involves finding a treatment plan that meets the physical and emotional needs of adult patients and getting them to move forward with treatment.
Aesthetic Considerations Need to be Addressed
Which type(s) of braces you offer may impact whether or not your adult patient wants to move forward with treatment. For some, a traditional alignment system is not of much concern. Or, ceramic brackets are adequate to ease the worries about what it looks like to wear braces as an adult. Even still, clear alignment tray systems can completely eliminate this barrier when it comes to moving forward with treatment.
We recommend offering at least two to three different options to your adult patients, allowing them to review the benefits of each. As you guide them through your recommendations, they can judge whether or not the aesthetic aspect of their appearance during treatment outweighs other concerns (such as cost and time.) They may not even realize that it is a concern, until you point out other alternatives that may be available.
Time Constraints for Busy Professionals and Parents
Time away from one’s professional and personal commitments may be a deciding factor in moving forward with orthodontic treatment. Although this is something that an orthodontic provider has little control over, there are steps to ease the inconvenience for your patients.
For instance, your practice may want to:
- Explain that certain types of treatments generally do not require as many or as long of appointments as other types of therapies. Include this benefit during the explanation of the options that are available. Take care to not draw too many negatives into your discussion, but highlight the positives that certain forms of adult treatments bring to the patient’s benefit. For example, mentioning “Because these aligners are removable and computer generated, your follow up appointments will typically be much shorter and easier to work into your lunch break or on your commute home from work.”
- Provide alternatives, such as “cosmetic” or “fast” braces systems that treat aesthetic misalignment in a shorter period of time. Again, take note to not point out negatives with any of the treatments that you offer, but instead offer an alternative if it appears your patient is hesitant to commit the next 12 months to wearing orthodontics.
- Make special accommodations in your office schedule for your adult patients. Perhaps this means coming in early at 7am on Friday mornings, or staying late one night a week, so that adults can book their visits before or after work. The simpler you make the scheduling process, the fewer excuses an adult has in finally enjoying a straighter smile.
Making Assumptions About the Price
One of the final straws in accepting a recommended care plan is the cost of the treatments. That’s why we recommend automatically including a financing program as part of your case presentation. Occasionally you may get someone who says “Never mind that, I prefer to pay for it all up front,” but this usually will not be the case.
Regarding your financing plan, try to offer at least two different options. Perhaps one has a larger down payment and smaller monthly fee, while the other is no down payment with a fixed monthly fee for a set period of time. If it’s interest free, it’s even better!
You never know what a person’s financial status is. They may appear to be well off, but struggling to make it between paychecks. Or, they may seem to have a fairly modest lifestyle, but have plenty of extra funds tucked away as they’ve been saving up for treatment. Leave that decision up to them without making anyone feel embarrassed. By presenting at least two forms of payment options, you can help to reduce the financial burden of moving forward with what may seem like an elective treatment.
Never make someone feel as if they can’t pay for something, but do be proud of your fee schedule. Your fees reflect your quality of care and dedication to patients. Just be sure to provide an avenue to make it financially attainable for the population in your practice area.
Giving Virtual Data Aids in Treatment Plan Acceptance
Finally, some people need to see things for themselves before deciding that a particular treatment is right for them. When you make patients an active part of co-planning and co-diagnosis, they feel more responsible for choosing the type of treatment to correct their needs. One of the best ways to do this is to implement high-definition imaging technology into your operatories and consultation rooms.
Bringing the photographs, X-rays, and diagnostic imaging onto the screen allows your adult patients to see what it is that you’re talking about, as you explain how things came to be, or can be changed. The old saying “A picture is worth 1,000 words” has never been truer than when you’re explaining dental procedures and orthodontic therapy to your patients.
At CephX, we take orthodontic and digital imaging to the next level. Orthodontic providers (specialists and general practitioners alike) can save time through our professional ceph exams, measurements, classifications, and insights. That way you have more time to spend talking to patients and closing the “sale” of having them move forward with treatment. Plus, all our records are fully secured on the cloud and backed-up to save you valuable storage space.
To learn more about our mobile-friendly AlgoCeph technology, contact CephX for a complimentary consultation with one of our orthodontic imaging and diagnostic experts.