While we have a collection of some very impressive technology in our dental practice, perhaps one the most useful pieces of technology only cost $499. It’s, the iPad! This wonderful tool is amazing as a display device to show patients the digital photos we take as part of every new patient exam.
Earlier this year I was participating in a retreat with Dr. Frank Spear, who is one of the most talented, passionate, and effective teachers I have ever met. He has an amazing way of taking very complicated subjects and simplifying them in an understandable way. Truly a gift. If you have never taken a course given by Frank, run, don’t walk and take one now! Here’s his link www.speareducation.com. At the retreat, I was having lunch with Frank and I asked him if he had any advice for my clients about how to increase case acceptance. Without hesitation, Frank said two things;
1) Use photography as a patient education tool, and 2) Show confidence. I told you Frank has a way of simplifying complex topics! Frank is right on!
I could write an entire book about how we use photography as a patient education tool, but Frank has already provided the best tutorial I know in the form of the following 14-minute video (NOTE: The video is a big file, it may take a short time to download):
In this video you’ll notice that Frank likes to leave the photos with the patient alone in the room so that the patient can critique their teeth without anyone else in the room This is brilliant. Consider a slight twist on Frank’s technique by loading the six digital photos onto an iPad. If necessary give the patient a short iPad tutorial by showing them how to swipe the screen to see the next photo and how to pinch their fingers to zoom in on any photo. Here are the verbal skills for the assistant:
Dental Assistant: “Linda, I need to check on something in the lab. While I am away please look at the photos we took at the beginning of your appointment and identify anything that you would like to talk with Dr. about. I will make sure he goes over any questions or concerns you have.”
Now, the assistant leaves the room and the patient is free to review the photos without any distractions. This exercise is very powerful because the patient has never seen their teeth like this, with the ability to zoom in to infinity! My experience has been that nearly every patient finds things they don’t like and they are motivated to talk with the Dr. about how they can improve the health and appearance of their teeth. It is always so helpful when the patient initiates this conversation!
Consider using the iPad to show patients the six digital photos you take as part of their exam. We have all heard the saying that a picture is worth 1,000 words, and this is indeed true when it comes to helping patients understand the condition of their teeth. The most common response we hear is, “Wow, I have never seen my teeth like this before.” And that is exactly what we like to hear! Keep Smiling!