Improving Practice Economy with In-Office Teeth Whitening
Did you know the market revenue for professional teeth whitening (in-office) is expected to increase by over 28 percent by 2025?
Teeth whitening is in demand; if your practice is not offering it, your patients may look elsewhere to find the treatment they want. In fact, within the AACD Cosmetic Dentistry State of the Industry Report 2019, 53 percent of respondents noted that other dentists were the primary competition for teeth whitening.
Investing in teeth whitening for your practice can pay long-term dividends and boost overall practice economy. Consider the below insights:
- The average patient spend in 2019 on cosmetic dentistry procedures was $4,336.
- For whitening, the average cost per procedure in 2019 ranged from $332 to $594.
- The average cost for in-office bleaching or whitening increased 11 percent from 2017 to 2019.
By investing in cutting-edge teeth whitening technology, you’re focusing on the long-term value of a patient and promoting ongoing retention while potentially engaging new patients, as well.
Improving Practice Economy with Dental Whitening
Due to its high patient demand and potential profitability, in-office whitening is a strong investment for your practice to evaluate; however, profitability comes from strategically selling this service and encouraging patient investment. How can you begin effectively implementing a new technology into your practice?
Elevate Communication with Patients
If your practice waits for a patient to ask about teeth whitening, you will not see the strongest return on investment possible. Instead, be proactive with engaging your patients and starting the conversation around teeth whitening.
When a patient comes in, encourage your front desk staff or dental hygienists to ask:
- Are you satisfied with the shade of your teeth?
- Is there anything about your smile you’d like to improve?
- Do you feel confident with your teeth as they are now?
- Are there any treatments you’d be interested in learning more about?
You can also inquire around general life updates to gauge if there is a timeliness need for treatment. For example, if you know a patient is engaged, ask when he or she is getting married and if teeth whitening has been considered prior to the wedding. You can also ask this question around other events, like an upcoming vacation or graduation. Timing the ask about teeth whitening around an upcoming life event may increase the probability that a patient will invest.
You should additionally take the time to market your teeth whitening offering to ensure all prospective and current patients are educated on your practice’s treatment option.
Remember: Your practice being proactive in communications is key for improved economic value of your whitening treatment.
Build a Patient Referral Program
Beyond expanding patient communications, investing in a patient referral program can help boost teeth whitening economy, as referrals will ultimately be a primary driver of new patients. In fact, respondents to the AACD Cosmetic Dentistry State of the Industry Report 2015 believed that “continued demand for cosmetic dentistry is primarily driven by referrals from others who have had a positive experience.”
For an established dental practice, more than 70 percent of new patient growth should come from internal patient referrals.
A referral program can be a simple initiative for your practice. Audit which of your existing patients have undergone your whitening treatment, then start the conversation with them by phone, email or even during their next appointment. You can request that they either verbally or through a written referral card recommend your practice’s teeth whitening treatment to their family and friends.
If this patient can successfully attract a new patient, you could reward him or her with a discount on a service or a customized gift. You can also reward any new patients with practice-branded gifts, like a coffee tumbler, to engage them to also become a referral partner.
This not only entices new patients, but it also serves as a reward and thank you to current patients to show your gratitude for their ongoing loyalty to your practice.
To discover how to effectively market your in-office teeth whitening treatment, including improved referral initiatives, check out our Dental Marketing Guide: Promoting In-Office Teeth Whitening.
Expand Patient Care Plans
Patients who are already investing in other oral care treatments may be more inclined to invest in whitening, as well. Your practice could offer a discounted rate on whitening as an “add-on” to existing treatment plans so that patients feel like they are receiving a special deal or a bonus for being a loyal customer.
Think about adult patients who have just completed braces. They have devoted time and money into straightening their teeth—and are prioritizing the aesthetics of their smile—so why not also integrate whitening as a final step to their patient care plan?
“My specialization is in orthodontics, which is closely related to dental aesthetics, so I had a number of patients who had achieved straight teeth and wanted to know what was next. To them, teeth whitening would complete the process of getting their teeth in the shape they wanted them to be in.”
–Morris Strauss, BDS Dip. Orth
Even patients who are committed to regular cleanings are prioritizing their oral health, so you should educate them on the benefits of professional teeth whitening as part of their care plan, including:
- An enhanced smile
- Improved overall appearance
- Improved confidence
- Immediate results
If your patient is happy with the initial whitening results, it will further encourage him or her to not only become a referral partner but also come back to your practice for any future whitening needs—increasing long-term profitability.
The important thing is helping your patients understand that you are supporting them in having the best teeth possible. Ultimately, this will improve patient retention and encourage increased investment in treatments.
Educate on Over-the-Counter Whitening
Over-the-counter whitening products are widely commercially available and are appealing to patients because they tend to be more cost-efficient and offer numerous options, including strips, wraps and trays. These product sales are booming, but are they delivering the results patients want?
While at-home whitening treatments offer the same active ingredients as in-office treatments, there are a lot of concerns that patients should be educated on. Dr. Sean Pierce, DDS, notes that patients should be aware that:
- Most products have little research showing efficacy.
- These treatments can take months to show a noticeable difference.
- Because these treatments can take more time to complete, unwanted side effects can occur.
- At-home whitening relies fully on the patient completing proper compliance and administration, which can lead to adverse results.
- Over-the-counter treatments typically don’t have enough contact time to offer significant bleaching results.
“The biggest drawback for most over-the-counter options is they don’t require an examination, which doesn’t really allow the patient to get the best recommendation on what will be the best product and the best concentration. It also prevents the opportunity to have a professional cleaning done to remove most of the extrinsic staining.”
–Dr. Sean Pierce, DDS
Your patients should be aware that tooth discoloration can be caused by cavities or other oral health problems, so it’s crucial that they consult you prior to starting any whitening treatment.
By becoming an advocate for your patients’ care and treatment, you can become a viewpoint they trust and guide them to other practice treatment offerings. This will ultimately improve long-term patient relationships and the growth of your practice.
Invest in Automated Technology
Efficiency comes from having the right tools for success, and this efficiency leads to profitability.
Consider teeth whitening: $11 billion is spent on products or procedures for whitening every year. This makes teeth whitening a strong value-add for a dental practice; however, it’s most beneficial when integrated in an efficient and automated way.
Standard in-office whitening treatments are typically manual and include consistent involvement of the staff to remove and re-apply the whitening gel to the teeth. Focusing on an automated technology can improve treatment efficiencies, though. With an automated technology, there’s less need for manual intervention from the staff, and you’ll be able to experience more treatment consistency and less variability.
“Current whitening technologies can be a strain on practices because the whitening gel must be applied and removed manually, which is labor intensive. Plus, most in-office systems rely on the use of additional home bleaching trays to try to decrease the relapse, making it a longer process for patients.”–Daniel Sanders, BS, DDS
Investing in more automated technology supports your practice in achieving improved efficiency and economy—and that's where the TheraSmile® system can help.
Discover the Automated TheraSmile® Difference
Invest in efficiency by investing in the TheraSmile system.
The TheraSmile system is enabled by automation to increase your practice’s capacity and add predictability to your day. TheraSmile Whitening will additionally provide your patients with the immediate results they want—promoting improved referrals and long-term advocacy for your practice.
The TheraSmile system is more than whitening, though. It’s cutting-edge technology that will continue to advance to improve your practice’s long-term economy.
“We are working to expand what the TheraSmile® system can do and are looking to offer non-whitening treatments through the system in the future. This will make the investment a good long-term opportunity to enhance patient treatments beyond just whitening.”
–Daniel Sanders, BS, DDS
Schedule a consultation today to learn how you can improve your practice economy and patient outcomes with the TheraSmile system.