It Takes a Team to Get to Yes

“I love doing restorative and cosmetic dentistry, but I just don’t seem to be doing very much of it. How can I build this part of my practice?”

Have you made this statement? Is this a concern of yours? Developing the restorative and cosmetic aspect of a practice takes a significant investment in time and effort. Attention must be given to ALL details of the practice − facility, management systems, communication skills, financing, etc. One cannot expect to develop this area of a practice by pulling a magic string and making it happen. Careful steps must be taken.

In order for this type of development to occur, the entire team must be involved. The team members are critical for the success of any dental practice, but they are especially critical when nurturing the growth of cosmetic dentistry.

Every person on the team must realize that they play an important role. There isn’t one person who is any more important than another. Each has the opportunity to encourage − or to discourage a person from going ahead with treatment.

My husband, Dr. John Jameson, believes that, in some instances, his team members had more impact on his patients than he did. “Patients may feel more relaxed with one of the team members than they do with me. I established a strong, trusting relationship with my patients, but I found that sometimes they would tell my assistant things they didn’t tell me. Often a patient will ask a team member questions to confirm the need for specific treatments. A patient often looks for some help in making a decision. Team members can be a tremendous asset in this area. It is imperative that each member of the team understands the treatments that are being offered. Their enthusiasm − or the lack of it − will come across loud and clear.”

Dr. Jameson provided the dentistry for members of his team. This was an earned benefit, but one that came back to the practice multi-fold. Once a person on the team received the restorative and/or cosmetic treatment, it was their commission to “show it off.” They were often asked to show a patient their own smile to visually demonstrate the results of the doctor’s treatment. In that example, not only are they able to show the patient the results, but they are also able to talk about how pleased they are with those results. They let the patient know that they would do it again in a second. This reassurance often helped a patient make a decision. The team members can also “build up” the doctor to establish a patient’s confidence in his ability.

Other dental professionals we’ve coached over the years have come to agree that team members are essential for practice excellence and for the growth of restorative and aesthetic dentistry. Everyone on the team needs to be knowledgeable about what dental options apply to what patients so these concepts can be introduced and reinforced at the times that are most appropriate for each patient. It is important to repeat the information, and keep the options in front of patients. The idea of this level of care might not be of interest to them today. But keep reinforcing the idea, and one day all things might be in the right place for patient acceptance.

Repeat the information, but use another appropriate teaching method at the same time: introduce a concept in a variety of ways − or with various types of learning tools. Different people learn in different ways. You might introduce an opportunity to a patient with a brochure, but they might not “relate” to the information in the brochure. However, you might then show some beautiful before and after images and the patient might “see” the results that they are interested in receiving. We recommend digital case presentations because they mix a variety of visual aids into a presentation. Regardless of what mix or presentation style you choose, caringly listen to your patients and make note of how you’ve presented the options. Then try again, as a team, the next time. Their interest might become stimulated enough to make a decision to “go ahead.”

For more of my teachings on improving case acceptance in your practice, purchase my new book, Success Strategies for the Aesthetic Dental Practice, at