Market disruptors are no match for solid patient-dentist connections built on trust and results.
At the same time that systemic disease is running rampant in our country, dental practitioners are fighting competition from companies who want to disrupt an industry they view as antiquated and out of touch. Worse, the profession faces criticism that dentists push unnecessary services just to pay off student loans or finance expensive office equipment.
Those are pretty formidable challenges, but I’m not worried. In fact, after 30 years coaching over 6,000 dental practices across the country, I’ve never been more excited about the future of dentistry. Based on what I’m seeing in forward thinking practices, I’m confident that, when oral health care is done right, dentists can become everyone’s favorite healthcare professional.
Trust can transform dentistry in a way that startups never could
I recently read an article purporting that dentists sell unnecessary procedures to pay off student debt and that dentistry is a tired industry ripe for takeover by forward thinking startups.
And while I think that’s a lot of hot air, I agree with one thing — if dentistry is going to survive, it must change.
After all, few people enjoy going to the dentist, which means the slightest breeze can push them in the direction of chewable toothpaste and mobile dental care. It’s also what makes them skeptical when you present a treatment plan — they’re wondering if they’re your next mark for an unnecessary upsell.
You and I both know that dentistry is filled with practitioners who are dedicated to the wellbeing of their patients. Dental professionals have to build trust first and foremost—and that’s why they don’t present unnecessary cases to their patients. In my 30 years in this industry, I’ve seen that 99.9% of dentists are interested in improving patients’ quality of life and strengthening relationships with them–they wouldn’t dream of engaging in such practices.
We also know that dentistry can do a lot more for patients than most people will accept. Each prophy appointment is an opportunity to provide preventive oral care and in doing so, make a huge impact in that patient’s overall health.
Dentistry can combat disease as big as strokes, heart attacks, and cognitive decline. Some of the biggest killers in our country can be avoided, and it all starts in the mouth.
Education is key to empowered, confident patients
Even if a patient is nervous about their visits, dental professionals who know how to educate about the oral-systemic health connection can quickly overcome their fear and trepidation. As knowledge about the connection between oral and whole-body health flows out to patients, they feel empowered and confident. Patients stop seeing a trip to the dentist as something to dread and start looking forward to it as an opportunity to connect with a trusted health advisor.
The practice leaders I work with are pushing back on the status quo and combating the notion that the dentist is someone you visit only when your tooth hurts. They’re rebranding the dental experience away from emergent care and into one of proactive and preventative whole body health.
I call this dental revolution Complete Health Dentistry. It’s led by practitioners who can identify and treat systemic problems to avoid threats like cardiovascular events, stroke and dementia.
In some cases, they completely put down the drill, and only work with patients who are committed to proactive healthcare.
By using techniques and technology like X-rays, intraoral cameras, airway evaluations, periodontal screenings and oral cancer screenings, they make a real difference in patients’ health everyday.
Once patients understand the mouth is the gateway to the body and what happens first in your mouth will begin to affect all parts of their body, from the brain to the joints and even to babies in the womb, they let go of their fear of the dentist. They see their provider as a healthcare specialist, an elevated view of their dental team that energizes teams and creates an environment of discovery and fun.
Building a complete health practice isn’t intuitive, but it can be done
Complete Health Dentistry, not startup tech companies, is the dental wave of the future. This is the cause that prescient dentists are championing and it’s sweeping through dentistry.
Here at NextLevel Practice, we have been promoting this revolution in dentistry for a decade. Our NextLevel clients report glowing reviews and ecstatic patients—not the critical, discouraging vibe investors are being asked to capitalize upon.
And what about the high-tech chewable toothpaste?
Coming off a pandemic, people need more connections, not fewer. Now is the perfect time to advance the dentist-patient relationship built on trust, proactive prevention and whole-body health. Practices that take this opportunity will be at the forefront of dentistry, not only by providing the highest standard of care for their patients, but also testing and curating new products and technologies that advance the profession. If fun new products or great samples help break the ice, I’m all for it. As for the naysayers, we’ll prove them wrong—chair side, every single day. Schedule a call – I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic.