Providing Patients with the Dentistry they Want as well as the Dentistry they Need!

The Breathe Team of Coaches often get requests to spend a day in a practice with a principal and their team, in order to help the team understand what the principal wants in terms of: practice growth and, in addition, what they want in terms of their team’s behaviour. In other words, the principal wants help in bringing the team (including the associates and the hygienists) on side, with everyone’s shoulder to the wheel, helping move the practice in the right direction. Simon describes one of these days and how you can create a win:win;win situation for the principal, the team and your patients.

I spent an interesting day with a practice team in the north-west this week, doing just that. It’s sort of piggy in the middle coaching, the coach being a piggy, between the ambitious principal and the sometimes resistant team…

  • The format for these days looks something like this:
  • Establish for the whole team what the future has in store in terms of: increased competition, corporates and retailers offering dentistry on their patch, new compliance and HTM01, revalidation etc.
  • Establish what the future has in store in terms of demand for the dental services they offer and establish if the demand will be for what they are offering.
  • Establish how the practice will be differentiated from the competition in the future.
  • Get any of the elephants in the room, out of the room. (That can take a while!)
  • Then the meat in the sandwich ~ describe the changes that the principal wishes the team will make to their behaviours, particularly those that will help grow the practice.
  • Help everybody understand what’s in it for them.
  • Create an action plan with names of who is doing what and by when.
  • Put some accountability in place.
  • And then some motivational stuff to leave everybody feeling good about what they do and the difference they make.

A long, satisfying day and if the coach has pitched it right, everybody is now on the same page and from the following morning, everything gets done differently and the practice takes (sometimes a substantial) step forwards!

In the practice I visited this week, I was asked to deal with how to up-sell more private treatment to a largely NHS patient base. The principal is doing this already and he wants his three associates to join in and raise their game (as well as their gross!).

So, together we looked at the idea that dental treatment fell into two camps,

  1. Dental Treatment that people need and
  2. Dental Treatment that people want.

This practice is almost exclusively providing treatment that people ‘need’ such as: check-ups, fillings, extractions, endodontics, plastic dentures etc and missing out on some of the more-fun, higher value treatments that people ‘want’ such as cosmetic dentistry.

To illustrate the difference between needs-based-dentistry and wants-based-dentistry, I asked the 15 team members to create for themselves, a list of the dental treatments they would ‘want’ if they were able to have this provided. Nobody’s list was empty and the ‘wants’ included treatments such: as: Tooth Whitening, Botox and Fillers, Veneers, All-Ceramic Crowns, Invisalign, Lingual Orthodontics, Ceramic Inlays, Scale and Polishes and the odd Implant! (Unsurprisingly, nobody’s list had on it amalgams, endodontics, extractions or plastic dentures…) The bill for all this dental treatment, collectively, came to around £60,000 or, on average about £4000 of wants-based-treatment for every person in the room.

So, ok ~ they are a dentally-literate team who know what is available and can self-prescribe the items they want from a menu that’s in their heads. But, hang on a minute, their patients can be dentally literate too if they are somehow shown what is possible and their patients given a form of ‘menu’ listing all the ‘wants-based-dentistry’ that’s on-offer at this practice. With strategies to put this into place, their patients will soon be able to choose the dental treatment they ‘want’ as well as being offered the dental treatment they ‘need’, all achieved in a manner founded on integrity.

Simple isn’t it. A small tweak to the way this practice communicates with their regular patients about what they can do and suddenly they are looking at a big increase in demand for treatment plans featuring dentistry their patients want. Everyone’s a winner!

If you would like a Breathe coach to spend the day with you and your team, please contact Ernie on 0845 299 7209 or


This entry was posted in News, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *