Dental implants have changed the lives of countless patients, and throughout the country the most successful implant practices are making a big impact in their communities as well as on their own success. While highly successful dental implant practices are located everywhere – low and high income areas, rural and urban areas, and so on – they all share one key element: they help patients break through the barriers that often stand in the way of full case acceptance.
Identifying The Barriers
There are many barriers that you’ll have to overcome in order to finally get a patient into the procedure chair. But just by reaching the stage that you’re presenting the options to the patient, you’re already past several of the big barriers including trust and desire.
Your patients are there because they know that they have a dental issue, and they know that you may hold the key to solving their problem. From here, the next step is being able to overcome the additional barriers that exist.
Often, fear is a big one. Fear of pain, fear of a long recovery time, and so on. Luckily, these are very common and fairly simple for today’s dental professionals to overcome. Offering things like sedation dentistry and a blueprint for post-treatment care can help assuage many of the basic fears associated with dental implants.
Once you overcome this, the final barrier is the hardest one to overcome in most cases – cost and affordability.
The Biggest Barrier – Affordability
Most dental implant patients aren’t wealthy. While some may have the means to pay for their treatment outright and while some may have incredible insurance coverage, the average dental implant patient has moderate to lower income and need implants simply because their teeth have deteriorated due to them not being able to afford proper care.
As such, telling them that the cost of implants is $5,000 to $10,000 is something that sill immediately strike fear into their mind. You can’t expect them to just show up with that much money, and if your consultations are nothing more than you explaining the high costs and then them leaving because they lack the funds, you’re wasting your patient’s time and your own time.
As such, finding a better way to overcome this problem is important for every dental practice. Luckily, there are several options that can have a major impact on this and can help you solve the affordability issue for your patients and get them to where they need to be – in the chair getting their implants.
Conquering The Affordability Problem
There are several options for helping patients overcome the affordability issue. If a patient wants a solution and is ready for you to perform the procedure, then finding a way to help them afford their treatment is an absolute must.
Luckily, there are several options that can help with this. Here are some of the things you can use to help your patients afford their implants.
- Internal Financing – Almost all of the most successful implant facilities will offer internal financing of some kind. It’s the same way that the auto industry sells cars consistently – instead of trying to tell them that they can get their implants for $6,000, you’re able to say ‘we can give you a great smile for just $500 down and $90 a month after that!If you set up your in-house financing plans properly you will be able to reduce your own risk and help boost acceptance rates in a huge way.
- External Financing – If you don’t feel that you’re comfortable with in-house financing, your next option is external financing options. CareCredit is the best known example of this and is a credit card specifically for dental and medical care. As such, introducing patients to this option is something that can help immensely.You can have a team member walk the patient through application and even help them start the process to drive up your acceptance rates.
- Bridge The Gaps – Sometimes, external financing may not cover everything. In these cases you may have to offer options that bridge the gap. For instance, if a CareCredit account won’t pay for everything, you may need to take on the difference with internal financing. Or, you could stagger treatment over time. Getting creative and helping bridge the gap is important for maximizing acceptance rates.
Make It Easier To Say Yes
The bottom line is simple – the easier your practice makes it for patients to say yes to an implant procedure, the better it is for everyone. It drives up the success rates of your practice and helps give the patient the smile that they deserve.
Identifying and overcoming the barriers to acceptance is important, and the biggest problem is often cost. With all the steps above you should be able to identify several options that will let you make it easier for your patients to break past the financial barrier and finally get the treatment that they need.