It would be nice if patients judged us by the quality of the dentistry we deliver. But of course patients have no way to judge the marginal integrity of a restoration or the cleanliness of a root surface. So they judge us on easily observed and possibly superficial factors
Let’s try a thought experiment. You are a well educated middle class adult American. You are looking for a dentist. You know nothing about dentistry except what you see on television or have experienced in the past. You have two dental offices to choose from A and B. Both are convenient and have been recommended by a friend.
Office A: sends you an e-mail welcome and allows you to fill out forms online before your appointment.
Office B: calls and leaves a reminder message and hands you a clip board when you arrive for your appointment.
Office A: takes digital photos and x-rays which the dentist shows you that instant on a large monitor to help you understand your dental condition.
Office B: does not take photos and takes film x-rays which the doctor looks at when they show up at the end of the appointment.
Office A: prepares a crown and delivers it that same day as you wait.
Office B: prepares a crown, takes an impression, places a temporary and has you return in a few weeks to have the crown delivered.
Based on these experiences which office would you believe to be “the best”.
It is possible that Dr. B is a better dentist than Dr. A. It is possible but the patient will never figure it out.
Here is the kicker. Most likely Dr. A is in fact a better dentist. Dentists who take the time to keep up with the latest technology and up to date procedures are almost by definition better dentists.
A final thought. Technology will help differentiate you from the crowd. However it will have no effect if the patients do not see it. So do not be hesitant to tell people about your high tech systems. Of course, don’t do it in a bragging or pushy salesman like manner. No one likes that. However you can tell patients in an enthusiastic and professional manner about how the digital x-rays use less radiation or how the photos help you diagnose more effectively.