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The "New' Cosmetic Dentistry

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Our office, like many others, has suffered from a decrease in revenue and patient visits. Patients are not returning for routine preventive visits let alone major restorative cases. Broken teeth are put on the ?wait? list as patients struggle to balance between being under or unemployed and paying their rent/mortgage.

Tooth whitening has become the new cosmetic dentistry in an era of patients? holding on to their hard earned dollars. For those patients who are coming to the office, we are treatment planning necessary procedures. We are also including patients? desires for creating esthetics along with restoring function. While we may not be performing as many veneers and esthetic cases as in years past, patients are still looking to us to create a better, brighter smile.

Teeth WhiteningWhitening, both chairside and take-home, are viable alternatives and links to the new cosmetic dentistry. Both procedures are easily and quickly achieved, with patient compliance. Additionally, preloaded trays are some of the least expensive ways to achieve a more esthetically pleasing shade, and they can also be distributed and monitored by the dentist.

All 3 of these options are potential profit centers for practices to consider. Fees range all across the board, from the most expensive in-office to the more economical preloaded units. Dental operator time includes the discussion of options after a thorough oral evaluation, tray fabrication, and pre-shade selection. Much of this can be delegated to properly trained auxiliaries (depending on your state regulations). As with any dental procedure, completing an informed consent form after potential side effects and patient expectations are discussed is mandatory.

Some offices are giving away whitening as a thank you for joining the practice after a patient?s initial comprehensive visit, or on special occasions. We have heard about brides receiving complimentary whitening, and the wedding party may have a discount if they choose to partake. Dentists are offering whitening to mom patients for Mother?s Day, and some are offering the preloaded trays as holiday gift options. Everyone wants to look younger, and it certainly makes the practitioner memorable. In any case, the focus is on oral care and esthetics.

As patients are returning to the office, slowly and with some trepidation, offering them whitening as an esthetic alternative may be the key to opening up more esthetic options in the future. The new cosmetic dentistry may be one of the easiest to implement in your office today.

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