A Realistic Guide for Talking to Your Patients About Teeth Whitening

a realistic guide for talking to patients about whiteningYour patients want to look and feel their best – which includes sporting beautiful pearly whites. That’s why offering teeth whitening services at your practice is a no-brainer since every patient is a good candidate for some form of whitening. But how do you break the ice and begin a conversation with your patients? After all, the color of your patient’s teeth can be a pretty sensitive subject. Sort of like when you let a new hairdresser cut your hair and she asks, as she fingers your locks with a questionable look on her face, “who colored your hair?” #Rude

To avoid offending patients, keep reading to learn how to start a comfortable and confident conversation about teeth whitening!


1. Educate Your Patients on Options

Your patients have several options when it comes to whitening. There are over-the-counter whitening kits, whitening toothpastes, and whitening procedures you offer in your office. Educating them about the advantages of various choices and the particular services you offer opens the door to an easy conversation. Most patients, if they are even slightly interested in whitening options, will appreciate your insight and expertise. Or ~gasp~ they might look at your teeth, wonder how you maintain such a bright and beautiful smile, and start the conversation for you!


2. Don’t Assume you Know What Your Patients Want

don't assume symbol

Patient priorities and goals can change over time. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know what your patients want. Push through the small talk and have meaningful conversations. What’s new in their lives? What are their health concerns? What treatment preferences do they have? The fact is, if your patients want a service like whitening but you never talk about it, they are going to go elsewhere to get it done. Which brings us to number three…


3. Make Sure Your Patients Know you Provide Whitening Solutions

If your patients sat in your reception area, would they know about your current whitening specials? If not, consider hanging some before and after shots or teeth whitening promotional materials. It’s easy to focus solely on the fundamentals of treatment but as a dental professional, you need to feel comfortable talking about cosmetics with patients. Don’t lose patients because you are afraid to start the conversation. Start giving patients what they want along with what they need.


4. Start the Discussion

Your go-to conversation starter could be as simple as asking your patients about what’s going on in their lives. “Heading back to school in the fall?” “Tying the knot soon?” “New job?” Each of these questions creates a casual and friendly conversation that can lead to a deeper discussion about teeth whitening. For example, you could give any of these phrases a try:

  1. Are you happy/satisfied with your smile?
  2. What would you like to change about your smile?
  3. Has anyone ever talked to you about whitening your smile?
  4. How do you feel about the appearance of your teeth?
  5. Do you currently whiten your teeth at home?
  6. Do you have any questions about teeth whitening?
  7. If you could change anything about your smile, what would you change?
  8. One of the pieces of information we like to collect is the shade of your teeth.


5. Listen First, Repeat Second

talking to your patients about teeth whitening

The key is to ask, listen, and then respond. Does their smile feel dull? Have they been trying to cut down on coffee in order to avoid stains? Do they have a special event coming up? If you truly listen to what your patients are saying, you will be able to address their concerns and present the best possible solution. A good place to start is by telling them the benefits of whitening, showing them pictures of previous patients who have received this treatment, and explaining how it could help their everyday lives. The trick is to offer helpful information and then let them decide. The more information you can provide, the more likely it is that you will be able to give them exactly what they want.

The truth is it’s natural for patients to want a whiter, healthier smile, and you are strategically positioned to make that happen. When talking about whitening solutions, you shouldn’t feel like a used car salesman trying to sell a clunker. Most people want to feel confident about their smile. Teeth whitening will not only enhance your patient’s life, it can add to your bottom line. Embrace it, and you’ll keep patients coming back!


Recommended Whitening Solutions

Here are some recommended products to get patients started on their journeys to whiter, brighter, smiles.


1. Tooth Whitening Gel Kit

patterson brand tooth whitening gelPatterson® Tooth Whitening Gel – Patient Kit – Patterson Dental Supply


2. Whitening Tray System

venus white ultra whitening traysVenus® White Ultra Whitening Trays – Heraeus Kulzer


3. Take-Home Whitening Gel

premier brand dental whitening gelPerfecta® Carbamide Peroxide – Standard Tube Refill, 2 oz – Premier Dental Products

What tactics have you seen the most success with when talking with patients about whitening options? Please share in the comments below!

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