A smile is one of the most common non-verbal communication signals — it’s how we convey friendliness and good nature in everyday situations.
Oral health plays a huge role in interpersonal communication. A beautiful, healthy smile can convince someone that you’re successful, wealthy and trustworthy, and research shows that people smile more in social situations than they do when they’re actually feeling happiness. Especially in today’s social media culture, everyone wants to put their best smiles forward to appear attractive and successful.
Not your grandma’s dental industry
In the past, dentistry was primarily about treating oral health issues. While that’s certainly still a main component, there’s now another huge motivator. Today, patients who see their dentist for regular maintenance go not just to maintain oral health, but also because they want a beautiful smile and all the benefits that come along with it.
Research has shown that patients are keeping up with maintenance and paying for cosmetic treatments now more than ever before, going to great lengths with dental treatments to improve their smiles and oral health.
A brief history of dental insurance
Let’s throw it back to 1953. 66 years ago, dental insurance wasn’t a thing. The vast majority of patients only saw their dentists if they were having horrible pain and needed urgent treatment — the cost was simply too high to go for preventative treatment or cosmetic reasons.
Dental insurance was introduced in 1954, as the dental industry started to grow and the need for financial assistance grew too. However, insurance didn’t take care of the entire bill, and not every employer offered it.
Times are changin’
Now let’s come back to 2019. Patients are different than they used to be. They’re used to getting a lot for a little. They will pay $12 more for a product on one website to avoid paying $10 in shipping. They check the rates on Uber and Lyft before scheduling a pick up. They’re used to getting good deals, and are more likely to barter and negotiate with their dentists for discounts and alternative treatments with lower costs.
We’re not going to talk to you about patients paying with cash, credit, insurance, or care credit. As a provider, you know the game: It works until it doesn’t. The patients get the treatment done because they need it enough and they can find the means to pay for it.
The paying for it part is where it gets tricky, because traditional lenders don’t say yes to everyone. They mitigate risk by offering to pay providers a discounted amount in full, and capturing interest from the patient. This works out great for the lenders, but it doesn’t solve the problem of patients who walk away from treatment because they can’t afford to pay out of pocket and can’t get approval for lending due to poor credit.
At HFD, we finance all patients, and consistently collect on patient responsibility. Best of all, as the provider you capture the down payment, each installment payment, and interest. Patients get the care they need, and you get more revenue. It’s a win-win.
Learn more about payment options for dental work in our new ebook.