Running a dental practice can be challenging. You must juggle numerous things at once: marketing your practice, keeping your office tidy and equipment maintained, and treating patients! Isn’t there a way to streamline everything and make your practice more efficient?
Getting your dental practice to run like a well-oiled machine isn’t easy. However, you can steadily transform it into a happy, productive place where you provide patients with the best possible care by focusing on the most crucial aspects first. If you need help starting, these seven helpful tips on how to improve your dental practice cover some essential areas worth looking at.
Clients want a dentist whom they feel relaxed around and that listens to their concerns. Not everyone is born with the gift of gab, but fortunately, you don’t need to be a talkative extrovert to communicate with your patients. All you need to do is be kind, understanding, honest, and professional—and willing to partake in small talk here and there. The more you get to know your patients, the more comfortable they’ll feel, and the more likely they are to become loyal, lifelong visitors to your practice.
While having the latest tech is by no means essential, it can help you run your practice more efficiently. For example, rather than tracking appointments manually or through an Excel spreadsheet, consider using scheduling software. Specialized software makes it easier for you to track appointments, and it can improve patient flow and productivity while reducing costly and frustrating scheduling errors. Meanwhile, outfitting your practice with the latest X-ray machines, dental lasers, operating chairs, and other equipment will allow you to perform exams and procedures faster and with greater accuracy.
It’s crucial that patients feel safe and comfortable when they visit your practice. If your reception area and treatment rooms are dark, poorly maintained, and feature outdated or stiff furniture, it may drive your client base away. Fortunately, there are many ways to create a more approachable reception area and office.
Not every practice has the money to spend on a full renovation, but plenty of small, inexpensive alterations can make your space feel homier. Consider painting dark walls a lighter color to brighten and open up any room. You can also head to your local home and garden store to pick up plants, which can add color to a room and make it feel more calming. If your furniture is stiff, you don’t have to replace it—simply soften it with pillows or cushions. Finally, a thorough cleaning can leave the space feeling fresh and welcoming. With these small changes, you can make your practice more inviting, which will encourage patients to come and stay a while.
Dental work is a big deal. Teeth are an essential part of the body, and patients don’t want just anyone to scrape and drill away. If your staff comes off as unfriendly or incompetent, it can set off sirens in a patient’s head and drive them elsewhere. Fortunately, all your front desk team and assistants need to succeed is a bit of training. Your staff should know how to treat patients kindly, promptly, and professionally. Whether you invest in a professional training course or meet with your team monthly to review best practices, a small amount of guidance can go a long way.
Every patient will have their own preferred method of payment. Some may want to pay via check, whether in person or mailed in. Others may prefer paying online with their credit or debit card. Payment methods can be a make-or-break thing for patients due to convenience or financial restraints, so you can attract and retain more patients by accommodating various needs. Ideally, you’ll also want to provide insurance coverage and special financing to ensure patients can seek care no matter their current financial situation.
Our next tip for improving your dental practice is to encourage your patients and staff to refer business. Referrals are a primary method for gaining new patients. Your current patients have family members, friends, and coworkers who, like everyone else, need dental services to keep their teeth healthy. If you can convince your patients to upsell your practice to the people they know, you can increase your client base exponentially.
That said, most people don’t think to promote health care services. If you don’t actively encourage them to, the idea may not even cross their mind. Consider handing out referral cards, displaying reminder posters in your office, or tucking cards into letters. If your practice sends out newsletters to patients, be sure to include a referral link as well. You can also offer a referral bonus program that incentives your patients and staff to tell others about your practice.
If one of your patients needs care that you can’t provide to them, they’ll need to find someone else who can, driving business away from your practice. While learning new skills takes time, patience, and money, it can benefit you—and your patients—in the long run.
Consider taking courses in restorative and cosmetic dentistry in your free time. This additional training will allow you to provide services like teeth whitening, crowns, dental implants, and wisdom tooth removal to your patients. These services bring in big money and will quickly make your investment into your education worthwhile. Expanding your services is also beneficial for your patients, as they’ll be able to receive all their dental care from you, their trusted dentist. They won’t have to shop around for other practitioners every time they need a unique procedure.
At SI Institute, we provide hands-on dental implant courses for dentists. Whether you’re a new or seasoned practitioner, our courses are jam-packed with valuable content that can help you learn something new or refine your existing skillset. Knowledge is power; the more you know, the better you can serve your community and patients. Sign up for a course today to improve your dental practice.