The global pandemic has affected nearly every single industry. Government lockdowns in an effort to protect those most vulnerable have caused great damage to small businesses all over. General dental practices have seen overall declines in production and profitability because of increased costs of new safety measures, the fear of the dental office from patients and reduction in capacity to see hygiene and restorative patients.
It is surprising to see that many specialty practices have seen an upsurge in production and big case starts. Oral maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, endodontists have never seen busier times. Why is that you might ask. Well, with most people unable to travel, dine out, go to sporting events and in effect spend any money on themselves more money is available to be spent on themselves.
A general practice relies on revenues from hygiene and restorative treatments that are highly insurance dependent and rely on an employed patient pool. A patient pool that has seen an overall decline during this pandemic because of troubling levels of unemployment. While a specialty practice more often than not caters to more elaborate treatments that include dental implants and aesthetics, which caters to patients that are less vulnerable to economic uncertainty and at this time have more disposable income having not incurred many lifestyle expenses.
If the specialists are so busy, and there are patients out there ready to spend money and improve themselves, it only makes sense for the general practice to pivot and start offering comprehensive treatments that these patients are looking for. This is the ideal time for patients to undergo aesthetic and surgical treatments. Here are a few things that you can do to drive growth in your practice:
Focus on new procedures:
This is the time to upgrade skills and move a general practice to provide more specialized services that are growing to offset the reduction in general dentistry that is being felt by many. This does not mean that untrained practitioners should be doing work that is not necessary or work that is beyond their skill level, but rather pivot and start to introduce new treatments and technology into the practice that are higher value services. Simple implant cases and predictable aesthetic cases are part of bread and butter dentistry and with the right level of training offering these services can lead to overall increases in production and practice growth.
Offer innovative provisional restorations:
With the pandemic forcing patients to stay home and away from social gatherings as well as spending most of the time hidden behind a mask, there are various ways to offer creative temporization treatments that can save patients some money and drive them towards starting with treatment.
Offer treatment that patients are seeking:
It’s not only implant dentistry that is on the rise. Orthodontic and invisalign treatments are on the upswing as patients that were previously self conscious are now wearing masks and accept orthodontic treatment more readily as they presume their smiles are hidden from the world by the mask.
When life gives you lemons… make lemonade. Each of us has the opportunity to pivot our practices and take advantage of the environment around us and begin a journey of growth.