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Can Free Whitening Generate Higher Case Acceptance? A Q&A with Jean Ocasio


Can Free Whitening Generate Higher Case Acceptance?

A year ago, Advanced Esthetic Dentistry started offering free teeth whitening using the Iveri line from Zest Dental Solutions. Jean Ocasio, CDA, BsBA, MHA, office manager for Advanced Esthetic Dentistry in Orlando, knew that patients would be excited to use something easy and effective—and it would make them more inclined to pursue additional treatment. The strategy has proven effective for the practice, and has been a win for patients, too.

DPS: What prompted the practice to try Iveri?

Pro Teeth Whitening KitOcasio: We were trying to find something different and easy to do with the patients; we decided to do a free whitening campaign to get newer patients to come back in for hygiene, and to attract new patients. We wanted something that was predictable and low cost, but also provided good results, so we told them, “If you schedule your appointment today, we will give you a free whitening treatment.”

With most whitening treatments, you have to take a new impression, fabricate a bleaching tray, and factor in lab time, which increases costs. But with Iveri Speed, the patient comes to the office, we give them their whitening kit, we explain how to use it and the patient is able to do a home treatment, reducing chair time. At first we did it just as a trial, but we had patients coming back saying, “I like it so much, can I have a refill?”

Similarly, a few members of our team who experience sensitivity or a gag reflex with other whitening product now use Iveri. We have patients loving it, and we have team members loving it, so this is the way to go!

DPS: Were you offering whitening before?

Ocasio: Yes, we did. However, we only talked to patients who brought it up or patients who needed cosmetic treatment. We automatically do a whitening treatment for anybody who needs any anterior teeth treatment.

When a patient comes to the office and says they want veneers, the first conversation we have is about whitening because porcelain crowns do not change color.

However, in the past that’s been a long process requiring several office visits. The first to take records, the second to deliver the trays. By the time I’m ready to start doing any type of treatment, this patient has been to the office multiple times. As we all know, the patient started out excited about their cosmetic work, but the more appointments you have before starting treatment, the more likely they are to change their mind.

With Iveri, we give them the whitening kit, they begin treatment immediately, and see results quickly. So by the next appointment they’re excited to move to the next step.

How did you let patients know you were doing this?

Ocasio: We did different types of campaigns. One was email; we produced a marketing campaign where we identified patients who needed hygiene but did not have an appointment. We also called and texted patients to let them know about the whitening service.

DPS: How many have had a demonstrable level of result?

Ocasio: It depends on a number of factors. When we give the patients Iveri, we let them know what shade they are starting at and set expectations. With a patient who starts at a 2 or a 1, I cannot talk to them about going eight shades whiter, because they’re not going to see those types of results.

Patients who have never done whitening before, or who started with C2 and above, we have been able to see more dramatic results. I haven’t had a single patient who has said, “I haven’t seen results with this,” as we have from other products.

DPS: What has been the effect on your practice?

Ocasio: We offered these targeted patients free whitening with the requirement they had to come to the office for an evaluation to receive the treatment. Many of the patients didn’t have a dentist, and this was an effective way to find new patients who become longtime patients who may have never come to the practice.

We have also seen that patients who had never thought of doing any type of cosmetic work and who start whitening treatments begin looking at their teeth more closely and start coming up with cosmetic questions. It’s opened up conversations for patients to increase acceptance of more advanced cosmetic procedures because they’re looking at their teeth in a totally different way than before.

 [Doctors from other practices have asked], “What are you doing that you have so many cosmetic procedures?” We’re not doing anything. The patients are the ones coming in asking.

They say it costs $85 for each new patient, and you’re spending less than $20 or $30 dollars for a whitening product, I think it’s worth the investment.

DPS: What do you want practices to know about implementing a campaign like this?

Ocasio: Starting conversations with patients about a whitening treatment like Iveri will drastically increase patient case acceptance. Iveri is easy to deliver, so your team will be more enthusiastic to talk about whitening. Once patients start whitening, case acceptance for any other treatment will increase because patients will be more aware of their teeth.

A lot of times we’re waiting for patients to tell us, “I want whiter teeth.” That’s not the right approach to whitening. If we speak to patients and explain it only takes 30 minutes, that they can do it while they watch TV and that they can get noticeable results, the patient will be interested.

Whitening is a billion dollar industry. There are so many types of whitening products out there. Patients want results, they want it to be easy, and they do not want sensitivity. So if you have a product that can do those three things, you are going to have patients asking to continue treatment once you provide it the first time.

DPS: You’re currently taking a break from this campaign while you do some restaffing. What do you plan to do differently in the future?

Ocasio: Any practice that has more than one doctor or who has two or three hygienists and are all about marketing their practice, they can customize the percentage and they can customize the Iveri box. They can brand their own practice on the product. It makes patients feel that if they want to continue utilizing that product, they should continue going to that practice.

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