Many times when dental patients call to cancel a hygiene visit, they will say, “But it’s just a cleaning.” While you may get frustrated at patients for devaluing important preventive care, keep in mind you have a great opportunity to change their attitudes. When people understand how a service benefits them, they value it; therefore if you want your patients to value the great care you provide, you need to show them what’s in it for them.
Consider the benefits of regular hygiene care. While you may be inclined to list benefits using clinical terms, challenge yourself to use language that patients understand. When practices go through this exercise, they often come up with benefits of preventive care that include cavity prevention and/or reduction, protecting the investment patients have made in crowns, implants, or fillings, and keeping patients’ infection or gum disease under control.
After you develop your list, you will likely realize how little time you devote to communicating these benefits. Remember, this is a critical part of patient education. If you do not build value for preventive care, if patients do not clearly understand how they benefit from keeping regular hygiene visits, then you will have an unfortunate number of people who will view regular hygiene visits as optional.
A proactive preventive care program is at the heart of a strong dental practice. If you want to do something invaluable for the health of your practice and patients, and if you want to greatly minimize the times patients cancel because they think it’s just a cleaning, make it a priority to consistently educate patients about how they benefit from regular hygiene care.