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Challenges Facing Cosmetic Dentistry and General Dentistry Practices

Dentists and their teams provide life-changing services. From improving patients’ bite function to giving them a confident smile that lights up a room, to root canal procedures to tooth sealants to dental crowns, your office delivers invaluable care to patients who desperately need and want it.

Despite the specialized, high-demand care these offices provide, cosmetic and general dentistry practices across the country experience significant challenges to their growth. Fostering an awareness of these challenges and understanding how to approach and overcome them positions your practice for success as you navigate these obstacles.

This article from United Consumer Financial Services highlights the top challenges affecting cosmetic and general dentistry practices and the practical steps you can take to face them head-on.

Meeting Patient Expectations

A smile profoundly affects a patient’s self-esteem and confidence –– for better or worse. When an individual comes to you for dental needs, they have expectations about the results. In some cases, they might not even realize they have expectations or might not vocalize them. But if you’ve been in practice for any length of time, you know patients come to you with an idea of what they want to look and feel like when you’ve completed treatment.

Unfortunately, and too often, patients seek cosmetic dentistry with unrealistic expectations of what you can accomplish or provide for them. Patients want a perfect smile. And perfection is never attainable when working with the human body.

Managing and meeting patient expectations is a considerable challenge for cosmetic dentistry practices. Patients expect you to give them the smile of their dreams, but they don’t realize dozens of factors influence how you approach their case and treat them.

The dentist must clearly communicate what is possible and what is not. Acknowledge their desires, then be direct about what is realistically achievable. When you educate patients about the limitations and possibilities of your treatment, you can help manage their demands and recalibrate their expectations to align with their realistic potential.

Managing Patient Anxieties and Fears

Many dental patients experience significant anxiety and fear when they sit in your chair. If left unaddressed, these fears can cause patients to cancel appointments, significantly affect patient outcomes, and negatively impact satisfaction levels, which bodes poorly for your business.

Understanding patients’ fears and providing a compassionate, safe environment is the first step in mitigating this challenge. Dental practices could also offer relaxation and calming treatments, including sedation dentistry or distracting entertainment, like VR headsets.

Communicate with your patients about their worries. Listen to their concerns. Explain that you’ll provide the resources they need for a successful, comfortable procedure. Solidify your understanding of their expectations and talk through them. The more in-depth and direct you can communicate with your patients, the better they’ll be able to handle their stress and follow through with their appointments.

Uncontrolled fear is a massive challenge for cosmetic dentistry offices. Proactive management of patient anxieties provides better outcomes for the patient and your practice.

Balancing Aesthetics and Function

Many patients needing cosmetic dental care or general dental care come to your office expecting you to fix their dental problems fully and finally. They want a gorgeous smile. They want no pain. They want veneers, or dental implants.. Patients often don’t understand that it’s your job to balance form and function as you provide dental care. Achieving this ideal balance presents a challenge.

A beautiful smile that isn’t functional is detrimental to your patient. A cosmetic dentist’s goal is to enhance the patient’s smile while ensuring proper bite alignment and maintaining a natural aesthetic. The right technology (just like CAD design, for example) allows dentists to create beautiful, functional smiles that will serve patients long after the treatment plan is complete.

Empowering Patients to Maintain Their Smiles

Cosmetic dentistry patients often expect to undergo treatment and then enjoy the results immediately and forever. And while specific procedures do deliver life-changing results, lasting smiles require long-term maintenance. The challenge: teaching patients the importance of proper oral care and hygiene and ensuring they stick to their maintenance plan.

Cosmetic dentistry practices must educate patients regarding the care and hygiene habits required for them to enjoy and benefit from their treatments. When providing discharge information, stress the importance of proper hygiene routines, regular dental check-ups, and lifestyle choices, like a special diet and not using tobacco.. These factors significantly impact the longevity of cosmetic treatments.

In addition to factors patients can control, help them understand that some things are outside their control: specifically aging. Every one of us will feel the effects of aging on our bodies. And for many, oral health is impacted by the natural aging process.

Providing patients with customized care plans and periodic check-ups helps ensure they take every step possible to maintain their new smiles.

Overcoming Pricing Objections

There are innumerable benefits to choosing cosmetic dentistry treatments: better oral health, a better quality of life, more confidence, increased self-esteem, and more. Unfortunately, cost is often a barrier to individuals needing and seeking care from your office. Pricing objections are among the top challenges dentist offices must overcome to serve new and existing patients.

Many cosmetic dentistry procedures cost upward of thousands of dollars, and those numbers don’t consider patients needing multiple treatments. For patients without cash reserves, without dental insurance, or without access to traditional loans, these procedures—while often necessary—are cost-prohibitive. Consumer financing is the ideal tool for addressing pricing objections and providing a real, reasonable, accessible avenue for your patients to pay for their treatments.

Partnering with a consumer financing firm like United Consumer Financial Services empowers your patients to choose the procedures they want and need on their timelines. Instead of postponing or foregoing treatment, they can take advantage of consumer financing from the comfort and convenience of your office.

Application is simple and straightforward; after approval, patients can eSign from their phones or the dentist’s tablet or computer. Because approval is sent in just minutes, patient treatments can begin immediately. UCFS sets up an autopayment plan that provides affordable repayment schedules. Patient can make their low monthly payments over a period of 12, 18, 24 or 36 months, so it has minimal impact on their day-to-day spending. Your practice is paid one to two days after the contract is eSigned, providing you with the cash flow needed to sustain and build your practice.

United Consumer Financial Services offers retail installment contracts, which is the total payment and interest split into equal monthly payments. UCFS’ competitor, CareCredit, is a revolving credit card. Revolving credit cards charge interested on the balance, meaning each month, the consumer receives a high added fee to their balance. Unless of course they pay their CareCredit balance off immediately. Without flexible payment options, the price of both general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry creates barriers to patient care. Consumer financing from UCFS provides a solution to pricing challenges and allows you to serve the most patients possible while growing your business.

Positioning Your Cosmetic Dentistry Practice for Success

Every dental office will face ups and downs as it seeks to deliver exceptional care. Some challenges are inevitable, but you can overcome others with the right tools and solutions. Consumer financing from United Consumer Financial Services makes your services accessible to your patients right away so they can get the treatments they need to love their smile—maybe for the first time.

Becoming a merchant with UCFS is simple. Contact our team to explore how offering consumer financing can help you serve more patients, book more treatments, and grow your cosmetic dentistry practice starting today.