Dental Practices Can Offer Cosmetic Services, Too!

Introducing Botox to Your Dental PatientsAesthetic consultant Catherine Maley
By Catherine Maley, MBA

By thinking outside of the box, dentists can reach a valuable target demographic: aesthetic patients looking for treatments such as Botox, Restylane, or cosmetic facial lasers. I’ve got some easy marketing strategies that will help you reach these patients.

Last week, I discussed how to prepare your staff and prepare your office for offering Botox to dental patients. Now, let’s examine some simple marketing strategies.

Prepare Your Patients

Creative marketing strategies will help spread the word about the aesthetic services you offer.

  • Mention Botox in your on-hold phone message.
  • Mail out an introductory letter explaining what Botox is and why you are offering it.
  • Include an “invoice stuffer” when you send out invoices.
  • Keep existing patients in the loop with a quarterly postcard.
  • A niche-segmented database can help you target the right audience.
  • Tempt patients with special offers. Use tight expiration dates to entice them in right away.

Leverage Email Communication

Email marketing is by far the cheapest and fastest way to communicate with your patients today. Thanks to advanced technology and streamlined processes, you can literally send out a message and, within minutes, have your telephone ringing with eager patients.

Email marketing is not a “nice” thing to offer your patients. It’s becoming mandatory if you want your patients to remember you when they are ready for aesthetic enhancement. In today’s competitive environment, it’s vital to keep in touch with patients on a regular basis. This will help ensure their loyalty to you and keep them coming back throughout the year. You also want to “market through education” since a true aesthetic patient wants to know what’s new in the world of cosmetic enhancement.

Be sure you are asking your patients for their email address so they can receive your very exclusive web offers and event announcements. And, your email messages must be brief, eye-catching and include very special promotions so they continue to want to receive communications from you.

There are certain times of the year that are more emotional than others for the aesthetic patient and you want to capitalize on that. Since aesthetic medicine is based on emotion and perceived need, develop a marketing plan around holidays. You will get a much better response when you promote your services around these themes:

Email Promotions at the Right Time of Year

  • New Year: New You
  • Valentine’s Day: Love Your Looks
  • Spring is Coming: Rejuvenate
  • Mother’s Day: Do Something Special Just for You
  • Summer is Coming: Are You Ready?
  • Holidays: Sparkle This Season

Start a “Botox Beauty Club”

Offer patients a Botox Card after their first treatment. They might receive $25 off their next visit and $50 off all visits after that. Really, it’s just like at the coffee house or the car wash. Your Botox vendor may help you with it as well.

Like the coffee house and the car wash, you can also give patients a Botox card that you punch each time they have it done. This way, after a certain number of treatments, they can get one for free.

The point is to keep them loyal to you.

Send Patients Birthday Cards

There is something about a looming birthday that will send the aesthetic patient into a tales spin. And, that makes sense. The aesthetic patient who cares about their looks will really care when their birthday is approaching.

To take advantage of this special time in the year for them, send them a fun birthday card that says, “Come Celebrate with Us” and offer $50 off any rejuvenation procedure listed. This is important – handwrite your signature and the address on the outside envelope. Use a stamp on a plain white envelope with no return address. You want this to look like very personal mail so it is well received and opened.

In addition, you might send the upcoming birthday month on the 15th of the previous month and have it expire two weeks after their birthday to add a sense of urgency so they pick up the telephone the minute they receive it.

Push Your Refer-a-Friend Program

We all know your best patient is the referred patient. They are not as price conscious and are already pre-sold on you. You do not want to take these referrals lightly. Every practice has their group of cheerleaders, and you do too.

Go through your database and pick out any patient who referred someone to you in the past year. Now, send them a personal letter telling them how much you appreciate them and how much you would like more patients just like them. Handwrite your signature and add a personal note such as, “Thanks for all your support, Patty!” Include two “$25 off your next aesthetic visit” cards: one for them and one for a friend. You can even give them multiple cards for multiple referrals. After all, the value of the referral is far greater than $25.

Ready To Jump In?

The above strategies are geared to setting up a winning team and bonding with your patients so they think of only you when they think of aesthetic enhancement. I promise you success if you implement these proven strategies.

And, I know I covered a lot! If you want to know more, check out my free marketing checklist…

Aesthetic patientsCatherine Maley, MBA, is the author of Your Aesthetic Practice: A Complete Guide: What Your Patients Are Saying. As a speaker and consultant, she helps doctors market themselves to cosmetic patients. For free tips, resources and strategies, visit CosmeticImageMarketing.com or give Catherine a call at (877) 339-8833.

Cosmetic Dentistry Moves into Botox

Dentists Unclear on Botox Regulations

In response to my recent survey on Botox, I kept hearing the same question: “How can I find out if I can legally offer Botox?”

Answering that question would be a great editorial, I thought. I imagined a color-coded map of the US showing where dentists could and couldn’t offer Botox.

There is no such map because there is no simple answer to the question. However, there are a few key points I want to highlight.

Botox Training

Anyone who’s offering Botox should have completed a training course. For example, Dentox offers a course that covers the following areas:

  • How to treat multiple conditions using Botox hands-on.
  • Attendees are invited to co-diagnose and observe the many patients being treated at these meetings.
  • How to substitute/eliminate acrylic splints with strategic injections
  • Accelerate healing & orthodontics by reducing clenching and preserving freeway space
  • Therapies to treat TMD, migraines, gummy smiles
  • How to prevent and remedy the most common unwanted side-effects

Botox & TMJ/TMD

Though it’s not right for every patient, Botox is gaining ground as a legitimate treatment option for TMJ disorders. Injections can help minimize muscle tension and soreness in the jaw.

Minimizing Wrinkles with Botox

On the one hand, if you’re already offering Botox for therapeutic reasons, why not make it available for cosmetic reasons as well? It’s safer for the patient than seeing an untrained practitioner, and it’s a great way for dentists to make some extra money without compromising the quality of their care.

On the other hand, it’s easy to see how some would feel that eliminating forehead wrinkles is not fundamentally within the scope of dentistry. It’s a service plastic surgeons should offer, critics argue, not dentists.

I disagree with these critics. I will argue that dentists are equally, if not better, trained than medical doctors in understanding head and neck anatomy. When you combine this with an acute sense of facial aesthetics, dentists are the obvious choice for this type of cosmetic treatment.

A Muddy Situation in the US

Dentists in the US face unclear standards when it comes to offering cosmetic services such as Botox, Restylane, or collagen. Regulations vary by state, and not all states are clear on their rules.

The New York State Dental Association offered this advice to its members:

In June 2002, the State Board for Dentistry passed a motion giving some guidance on the use of botox/collagen stating that, “the use of botulinum Toxin Type A and collagen for dental health related treatment falls within the scope for the practice of dentistry as defined by Section 6601.” This motion, which is not binding, does authorize a dentist to use botox and collagen, but reiterates that such use must be related to a patient’s dental health.

Last year in response to NYSDA’s request for clarification regarding a weight-loss procedure that was marketed to dentists (e.g. dental appliance known as dental diet system), the Office of Professions of the Education Department stated that, “if the purpose of the dental appliance is solely to treat a diet or weight loss condition, it would appear that this would not be within the scope of practice of dentistry as defined in New York. Nonetheless, if the condition is properly diagnosed and a lawful treatment plan is prescribed by a professional authorized to do so, the fitting and attaching of the appliance could very well have dental health implications and a dentist may be involved in those services.”

As with anything, you cannot legally provide such services if they are not within the scope of the New York State Dental Practice Act. For instance, cosmetic facial hair removal is not related to restoring and maintaining dental health and therefore is not within the scope of the practice of dentistry. As with any new product or procedure, do not allow the lure of additional revenue to jeopardize your professional license. If it is not something that you can reasonably argue relates to dental health, it is safe to avoid it.

If you’re not sure whether dentists are permitted to offer (and/or advertise) Botox services in your state, here’s a quick shortcut: do a quick Google search for botox + dentist + [your state]. If Dr. So-and-so offers Botox, you might be able to as well. But if no one in your state is advertising this service, there’s quite likely a reason why.

A Clear Situation for UK Dentists

There is no such legal gray area for dentists in the United Kingdom.

  1. UK dentists are permitted to offer Botox.
  2. They are not, however, allowed to market their Botox services alongside their dental expertise.

What do you think about dentists offering Botox?

I’ve gotten some great responses to my survey on dentists and Botox. People have also been interested in what Catherine Maley, our new guest columnist, has to say on the subject. Now I’m hungry for more!

  • Dos your state permit dentists to offer Botox?
  • Does your state prohibit dentists from offering this service?
  • Does your insurance permit you to offer Botox?

Dentists: Don’t Be Afraid of Botox!

Aesthetic consultant Catherine MaleyIntroducing Botox in Your Dental Practice
By Catherine Maley, MBA

More and more dental practices are offering Botox and other aesthetic services to their patients. But introducing Botox demands more than just clinical training; it also requires some marketing know-how.

I’ve made a career of examining the unique needs and desires of aesthetic patients. Offering Botox is not the same as offering root canals, and you shouldn’t approach the two in the same way!

This week, I’ll tell you how to prepare your staff and prepare your office. Next week, we’ll talk about how to reach patients with easy marketing strategies.

Prepare Your Staff: Turn Them into Rock Stars!

Be sure your staff is on board and committed to your success with this new addition to your practice. They can make or break the success of this venture, so you need their 100% support.

Meeting with Your Team

  • Let your staff know what your vision is and where they fit into it.
  • Get their commitment to help you make this successful.

Your staff will perform better when they have quantifiable numbers to strive for. It’s important these be individual goals with numbers and time lines attached to them so the staff person knows what is expected of them and when. The more specific the goal, the better able they will be to obtain it.

Examples of Goals

  • Book 10 Botox appointments per week
  • Sell $5,000 of aesthetic services per week

It’s human nature to perform better when there is a “carrot” at the end of the stick. The easiest way to get your staff to be at their best when they are on the job is to reward them for a job well done and then reward them even more for going the extra mile.

  • Incentives keep your staff motivated and on top of their game.
  • Offer them free Botox or Botox at cost so they will be your front line walking/talking testimonials.
  • They could wear lapel pins that say “Ask Me About Botox.”

And be sure your staff knows you appreciate them. Thank them often. Hold regular staff meetings. Discuss what’s going on and what’s new. Get your staff’s input on what’s working and what needs to change so they feel they are part of the team. They will be more receptive to helping you reach your goals when they feel respected and valued by you.

Prepare Your Office: Signage Is a Beautiful Thing

Will someone who walks by or steps into your office know what sort of services you offer? In-house signage helps spread the word and will ensure that every single patient who walks through your door knows you now offer Botox.

Make Patients Aware of the Services You Offer

  • Clear signage
  • Digital photo albums in reception area and exam room
  • Framed eye-catching posters in restrooms and strategic places on the wall

Overwhelmed Yet?

Don’t be! In addition to being rewarding and profitable, it also doesn’t have to be that hard! I’ll be back next week to discuss strategies for attracting cosmetic patients.

Aesthetic patientsCatherine Maley, MBA, is the author of Your Aesthetic Practice: A Complete Guide: What Your Patients Are Saying. As a speaker and consultant, she helps doctors market themselves to cosmetic patients.

For free tips, resources and strategies, visit CosmeticImageMarketing.com or give Catherine a call at (877) 339-8833.

Botox Advertising Ban for UK Dentists

Dental Council Says No to Non-Dental Cosmetic Marketing

Botox is a popular cosmetic treatment, and increasing numbers of dentists are offering it to their patients. “Who is more qualified to give injections than dentists?” asked one dentist.

Though UK dentists are legally permitted to offer Botox to their dental patients, the General Dental Council (GDC) has just ruled that dentists are not allowed to advertise for Botox, fillers, and other “non-surgical cosmetic procedures that are not part of dentistry.”

The issue is that the GDC does not want a practitioner’s standing as a registered dentist to appear to endorse their Botox services. So, in the UK, you can be a dentist. And you can offer Botox. You just can’t market those two things together.

In the US, state regulations determine whether dentists can offer treatments such as Botox or Restylane.

Let us know what you think.

Read more

Tooth Whitening and Cosmetic Dentistry Don’t Always Go Hand in Hand

Tooth Bleaching Not Always a Gateway to More Cosmetic Dental Work

tooth bleaching and cosmetic dentistryIn this survey, we asked dentists what percentage of their patients who initially request tooth whitening go on to have additional cosmetic dental procedures. Two out of three dentists reported a conversion rate of less than 40%.

  • “Tooth whitening and cosmetic dentistry go hand in hand. 95% of my highest earning cases are cosmetic.” (Scotland dentist)
  • Hype, for the average patient.” (Pennsylvania dentist who does not offer tooth whitening)
  • “It is the direction dentistry is going, so you either embrace the change or get left behind.” (Texas dentist)
  • “Whitening is not popular in blue collar neighborhoods.” (Illinois dental student)
  • “Maybe it’s just in my area, but there sure aren’t as many patients beating down my door for cosmetic treatments like LVI and other gurus would have you believe. The kids’ karate lessons, the cruise, and the new SUV are all way more important.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Whitening opens the door to more to more cosmetic dentistry.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “Tooth whitening is only temporary, and it has limitations. This has to be stressed to the patient.” (New Jersey dentist)

Read the complete tooth bleaching and cosmetic dentistry survey results

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