How do you go from a bread-and-butter dental practice to an advanced dental office offering multi-specialty services like orthodontics? There are numerous benefits to incorporating this service into a general dental practice, both for patient care and financially. While there is no single path that a dental practice needs to take to begin offering orthodontics, consider some of these great starting tips so your transformation into a general dental orthodontic practice is seamless! Remember to always take into account your patient demographic, your practice culture, and your training to become a competent and confident provider.
Orthodontics can transform your practice for the better.
Orthodontics is a highly lucrative field for several obvious reasons. Patients want a perfect smile, but there are also numerous underlying dental reasons this service can benefit a patient, like aligning their jaw properly, helping them improve their hygiene and avoiding tooth decay, and creating a bite that helps them eat, sleep, and speak comfortably. Once you understand the foundation of orthodontics, you can confidently offer the service to your patients and naturally observe how your practice blossoms into a specialized office.
Here are 5 steps to learning how to successfully incorporate orthodontics into your general dental practice:
1. Get the education needed.
You cannot offer orthodontics without a proper foundation, just like you wouldn’t be able to do crown and bridge or implant dentistry without a didactic and clinical background. Take a course for general dentists who want to learn about adding orthodontics to their offices and mastering the topic. The Basic Straight Wire Orthodontics course taught by Dr. Brad Williams is the first step in gaining the knowledge and confidence through a five-part lecture series and invaluable hands-on workshop to apply orthodontics.
2. Have a motivated mentor.
Remember back in dental school when you had attendings who would guide you through new, complex cases? It was necessary to work with an experienced dentist to gain feedback and learn about new techniques and how to improve your skills. Shadow or discuss treatment plan cases with another general dentist who practices orthodontics so you can pick their brains and get other opinions on your patient’s needs. Taking a course through the Williams GP Orthodontic Seminars will benefit you tremendously because you will network with other dental professionals who share similar goals.
3. Evaluate your existing practice.
Take a hard look at your general dentistry practice. Does it have a strong need for orthodontics? If you are constantly referring out patients or you have patients requesting orthodontic care, this is a good time to add this service. Fewer and fewer general dental practices are referring out specialty cases because it is more lucrative and beneficial to keep them in house. Since dentistry is a highly competitive field, general dentists are always looking for ways to set themselves apart from other practices. Market yourself as a comprehensive dental practice that provides care in ALL dental fields, including orthodontics and general dentistry.
4.Get your team on board.
Your dental team is your number one way to get patients motivated about orthodontics. Hold meetings with your staff to discuss marketing techniques and other ways to add this service into your practice. When your trusted employees can recommend a service that you provide, it shows patients that they have confidence in your work. Simply by having your hygienist ask if they are concerned with any orthodontic issues like spacing and gaps, crowding, or bite issues can inspire a patient to consider orthodontics in your office.
5. Research your demographic.
Look at the surrounding offices in your area. Are general dentists offering orthodontics to their patients or are they referring out to specialists? When you find that most general dental practices are not trained to offer such a specialized service to their patients, you need to grab the opportunity by taking a basic straightwire orthodontics course and becoming the first general dentist in your region to do so. Adding this service will change the way your office is marketed, including how you show up on SEO searches and how you present yourself on social media.
General dentists can easily create a one-stop-shop and successful practice model by incorporating orthodontics. Patients appreciate the expanded services and convenience and it is a wonderful marketing tool for new patients. It takes some research and time when you take an orthodontic continuing education course, but with the right attitude and motivation, your office can be uniquely competitive and financially successful.