Do you know a bad dentist?

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Because we deal with such great dentists and dental teams, and we’re managing print and digital dental marketing campaigns that feature stories about your great work and great results, we forget that there are not-so-great dentists out there. It was a surprising reminder this week to hear from one of our awesome clients about why they had to terminate a dental associate and what that associate plans to do. You may have experienced something like this. No matter how much good and ongoing dental training our client provided, the associate just didn’t have it, didn’t get it, and couldn’t improve. Just downright doing bad dentistry. They had to be fired.

And now, that associate has decided to open their own dental office. Our client is flabbergasted that this person will be out there performing poor-quality dentistry on unsuspecting patients. They literally said “it’s freaky” to consider that the associate can just go and do dentistry.

It’s especially freaky when you consider that consumers “perceive” that all dentists provide basically the same thing. This means some patients are getting bad work, which serves to reinforce the untrue negative stereotype of the dental profession. Without quality information to make good decisions for their families, up to 50% of the population avoids dental visits.

That said, when a dentist consistently delivers poor-quality work, the results will play out, but in the meantime, these dentists could be eating away at your market share and creating poor general reviews of dentistry, making it harder for you – a great dentist – to attract quality new patients.

You can combat these types of dentists by educating patients and setting your practice apart.

If you Google poor-quality dentist, you’ll find a myriad of articles: “warning signs of a bad dentist;” “good vs bad dentistry;” “dangers of poor dentistry.” These articles provide insight to help differentiate your practice.

Here are a few suggestions for your office and for patient and community communications:

  1. First impressions. Does everything you’re doing reflect the vision you have for your practice? Does your direct mail, website, and other marketing represent the quality of your dentistry? Ditch that cheap little postcard that puts you with the pizza coupon pile and opt for high-quality educational newsletters. Is your reception team well trained on the art of welcoming patient calls and converting calls to appointments? Do you answer most inbound calls live and show empathy and appreciation? Is your office, from entry to operatory, clean, modern, and welcoming?
  2. Make sure everyone on your team has great oral health and bright white teeth. There is nothing more shocking at dental trade shows than seeing dental teams, hygienists, office staff, especially dentists, with yellow, stained, or chipped teeth. Everyone on the team is a billboard for the dentistry that comes from your dental practice.
  3. Constantly work on building an incredible online reputation with a steady flow of 5-star reviews.
  4. In your print communications, online, and in person, consistently explain the importance of comprehensive dentistry for patient health. This reinforces your practice philosophies and creates a more successful practice – and truly healthier and happier patients. Dan Kennedy says every dentist should, at minimum, have some kind of patient newsletter that hits doorsteps every month, preferably a tangible, printed newsletter.
  5. Highlight the latest technologies you’ve invested in for patient comfort and gentle care.
  6. Offer 2nd opinion consultations to help patients ensure they’re getting needed treatment.
  7. Patients want convenience, comfort, and affordable care. They want their dentist to care. They want their business to be appreciated. But, unfortunately, some will end up with a poor-quality dentist because they don’t know better. Keeping your practice visible in patients’ homes and in your community will help you build your position as an expert in your field and as “the” dentist of choice.

Consider the dental offices in your immediate area. For most dental teams we work for, it’s competitive out there, and not getting easier. We always recommend checking out competitors’ websites to see what they’re offering new patients. These locations are targeting your patients too. Have everyone on your team bring in every piece of dental direct mail they receive in their homes. When you know what you’re up against, you can build a unique talk-track and craft marketing messaging that stands out.

What percentage of those offices offer the quality of care that you do? Do you know of some shoddy operators? Are you constantly repairing procedures done elsewhere? Maybe you don’t have a dramatic example, however, you know that you have invested in more CE, the latest, greatest, and best technologies, a wonderful, caring team... Well, patients need to know.

Then brainstorm. What can you emphasize to show how you’re helping patients get the highest quality of care with the minimum of “costs” to them? You don’t want patients to compromise when it comes to high-quality dental care and keeping their teeth healthy and beautiful for life. When I say “costs,” I’m not referring to money. Top performing dentists with the highest new-patient values offer benefits that patients appreciate and are willing to pay more for.

  • On-time visits show you respect patients’ time
  • One-visit treatments demonstrate how convenient your office is
  • Longevity guarantees higher-value treatments to reduce risk or hesitation
  • Education, skill, and number of procedures completed builds trust
  • Insurance processing, membership programs, or payment plans make it easier
  • Complimentary consultations help patients get to know you and your team, building rapport and relationships, and allowing time to share your expertise and gain more quality patients.

Yes, it’s flabbergasting that some bad dentists will set up shop. But ultimately bad reviews and low case-acceptance will put them out of business. Meanwhile, it’s kind of like not lashing out at someone who says something you don’t agree with. Focus on yourself and what you can do to make your practice better and to help more people who reside in your neighborhood be healthier. Whether they choose your dental practice or not.

You do great dentistry. Share the news. Help educate your patients and your community. Develop a great marketing plan for your website, your reviews, and your community outreach. Stand out. Show your difference. This will keep your practice healthy and thriving, and you’ll be helping more patients make the best decision for their health.

We’re so proud of our dentists and dental teams and your dedication to quality-dentistry and patient education. We love that we send millions of dental newsletters, patient emails, and other patient communications to dental patient homes every month helping to educate people about the importance of oral health and getting good care. Thanks for helping us do that. We’re proud that these efforts have led our clients to be 25% ahead of industry average production through COVID-19 recovery. Hats off to you all!

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