This coronavirus pandemic is clearly disrupting the dental industry. Patients and dental professionals alike are all suffering. Although it seems easier to hide, there are actionable steps that we can take to keep our businesses thriving despite being closed.
As the CEO of StraightSmile Solutions®, I have a 30,000-mile, birds-eye view of what dentists around the world are doing to survive. Sure, most are being over-compliant and burrowing in their rabbit dens, trying to do “their part to flatten the curve.”
Don’t get me wrong. I madly respect that, but remember that you also have dependents who are often hourly wage-earners and who are suffering right now. Now is the time to be more innovative and think outside the box.
Trust me, I am hurting too. I’ve temporarily lost over 50% of my clients to this slowdown. Instead of chilling and watching Netflix, I’ve chosen to help my fellow dentists with complimentary support.
I am not telling you to break the law or harm yourselves or others. Quite the contrary. My suggestions are clearly explained in the dozens of videos I’ve been publishing and posting on my YouTube channel, I also have a PDF of suggestions that I can email to you if you contact me here.
Believe it or not, some dentists are thriving and following the laws and regulations, but it’s a small, innovative few. Align Technology® ran a great webinar last week on the launch of its VC system (virtual consult / virtual check-in). Other similar systems are also available, such as SmileSnap®, GP Ortho Tracking®, and Dental Monitoring®.
In this era of social distancing, it is still critical to maintain strong virtual relationships with our patients. There are many low- or no-cost virtual consult and check-in systems on the market. By implementing these systems, we can guarantee that we will return to healthy practices and continue to help people in the way we always have, one smile at a time.
At some point, business will resume as normal, so it’s important to spend this time preparing your practice for when the pandemic ends, and you can reopen your office doors. It is very likely that it won’t be a “fully normal” SOP. Now is a great time to focus on refining operations, updating project management systems, researching new technology, and growing your social media presence.
Additionally, even when we return, our ability to see patients in the way we did before will likely be limited for some time. We can use our time now to start preparing for these possible scenarios so that we have the technology, equipment, and personnel in place to move forward.
If you are closing your office doors or forced to cut normal business hours, you should certainly post a notice on your website. However, not having an alternative way to engage with your patients and not providing them with other ways to enter your funnel effectively eliminates the value of your site because it will no longer be driving leads.
As bad as the coronavirus pandemic is, it will eventually end. When it does, there will be pent-up demand for orthodontic treatment, and there will be a high demand for consultations, despite potential ongoing issues with the economy. Pre-qualifying patients will be critical to ensure that every patient who takes a consultation slot is motivated, well-informed, and ready to start treatment. Having a high consult treatment acceptance and conversion rate will be a necessity to recover months of lost starts and missing production.
Dentists and dental providers must return online assessments and treatment plans.
As an orthodontist, your most valuable time is your consultation time. In the rush to return our practices to “normal” when we return from the COVID-19 pandemic, this statement will be truer than ever. Providing a high-quality consultation that converts into a treatment start is the key to orthodontic practice growth. Virtual consultations are a way to pre-qualify your leads and create a pipeline of new patients who have already been educated about the benefits of being treated by your practice and been given an estimated treatment plan and fee.
Cutting lab fees on aligners and orthodontics is another way to use your time wisely right now. It is the wild, wild west in the land of clear aligners. StraightSmile Solutions® is the ultimate aligner matchmaker. We help doctors select the ideal cases for white labeling aligners to save 50–75% on average in lab fees and still obtain ideal outcomes. With price points as low as $15 per aligner, now is the time to lower your lab fees!
To schedule a complimentary consultation with our team, visit