Do your patients know which whitening you offer?

By:Faiza Akbar

Everyone wants a radiant and healthy looking smile. People often consider various methods to achieve this, the most popular being teeth whitening, a relatively simple cosmetic dental procedure. Teeth whitening can be a sensitive subject to bring up with patients. You want to remain informative, without offending anyone. There are many different whitening options on the market, some that patients can administer themselves at home, and others they can have done professionally in your office. With any service you offer, the first step to acquiring patients is providing them with information. If patients don’t know something is available, how can they pursue it? As teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure, with the industry expected to reach $7.4 billion by 2024, you want to make the most of it.

There is clearly patient demand for the service, so make sure to emphasize that whitening is not a one size fits all procedure - there are many options that patients can work with you to tailor to their personal preferences. So does it matter if patients know which specific whitening options you provide? Absolutely. If you want additional patient business, increased online and in-person engagement, and a stronger patient-dentist relationship, then including more information about your teeth whitening options could be a major way of achieving this.

Misinformation is rampant and many patients may simply be uninformed or unaware of the whitening options that are available. They might be under the impression that an over-the-counter whitening kit is the same as getting their teeth whitened professionally. It is possible that your patient previously had an unsatisfactory whitening experience, so it may be important to let them know that modern whitening solutions are faster, painless, more effective, and result in less sensitivity than procedures of the past. Some patients may also think you only offer whitening services in your office, and not realize that you offer take home whitening kits as well. Along with clarifying the availability of take home options, you should highlight the differences between those kits and the ones they can purchase from drugstores themselves to clear up any misunderstandings patients might have.

Just because someone hasn’t asked you about your whitening options yet does not mean they are not interested. Communicating with your patients and inquiring about their preferred level of tooth whiteness can get a conversation started. This conversation can begin with a consultation but carry its way through appointments and touch ups. A good time to mention whitening is around holidays and events, whether it be Christmas or back-to-school season, your patients are more likely to show interest in whitening solutions.

How you inform your patients is also important. You may choose to tell them directly during an appointment, or if you prefer a less direct approach, you can include information about whitening in a monthly newsletter, email, or through social media. Including more specific details about whitening options might also increase the engagement on your website. Does your website’s teeth whitening page contain a breakdown of different service options? This will make it more likely for patients to have the page open for a longer duration to read through the information, as opposed to briefly visiting the page to check for quick facts. Additionally, once reading the informative sections, patients will be more likely to press a call-to-action button to inquire further, increasing engagement even more. While most social newsfeeds will be saturated with quick facts and graphics, having the option of detailed information may foster interest for a longer time, and make click-through more likely, especially if you mention a promotion for the service.

Often times, patients are undecided about whether or not they will go through with whitening procedures and it is typically the uncertainty of results that is holding them back. They might be unsure of the following: If the results will be what they want How long the results will last How much of a time commitment the procedure will be. Providing your patients with information regarding the whitening options will alleviate any doubts or misunderstandings they have about whitening and make it more likely for them to follow through with the procedure they have been wanting.

You can mention that whitening exists on a spectrum, ranging from basic whitening toothpastes, to deep bleaching which you may provide. The key is to let patients know that there are many options available and you are willing to work with them to find the ideal one. Reassuring those patients who are undecided or skeptical will also lead to establishing trust, as they will now feel more comfortable relying on you to advise them on decisions regarding their cosmetic procedures. Patients may also shy away from whitening if they think it will be extremely costly and time consuming. However, most modern whitening procedures are cost efficient, quick, and non-invasive and can usually be included in a hygienist appointment. The different options may also vary in price, so patients could consider a less expensive option that still achieves their preferred results.

If you feel that your website and social media currently do not include enough information about the whitening options you offer, contact UpOnline to inquire about our social media, website, and newsletter services. We can help ensure your patients are informed and up-to-date about your services so they don’t miss out.