ADA Says: People Want to Go to the Dentist

According to a survey shared by the American Dental Association (ADA) earlier this year, for the second year in a row dentists were named the top health practitioner Americans want to see more often. In fact, this survey (the Adults Oral Health & Well Being Survey) gleaned some interesting insights. It found:

42% of Americans feel they don’t see their dentist as often as they would like.

85% of Americans believe oral health is very or extremely important to their overall health.

The number of Americans visiting the dentist once per year decreased 4% from 2016 to 2017.

It might not be surprising then to share that the study also found that the majority of respondents weren’t overly satisfied with the health of their teeth or mouths.  Knowing this leads to the obvious question: if people want to see the dentist more and feel that their oral health is important and could be improved why would they not be visiting the dentist as much as they’d like?

There are often two main reasons people avoid the dentist—even if they know a visit would benefit them. They are:

  1. Going to the dentist is too expensive.
  2. I’m afraid of going to the dentist

However, armed with the knowledge that many people do want to pay their dental practice a visit (even if they don’t) provides you with a huge opportunity to address potential pain points that keep patients away and actually use them to get more patients through your door.

How can you do that?

By addressing potential patients’ concerns and fears in your practice marketing and demonstrating how your practice can eliminate them.

For example, for people who know they need dental care but lack the insurance or finances to pay for it all at once it’s all about showing them that receiving dental care is possible without breaking their budgets. A postcard or radio ad touting personalize patient payment plans could be just what it takes to set their minds at ease and get them to give your office a call.

And for those patients whose main concern is fear of the dentist—which often translates to a fear that dental procedures will hurt—you can write a blog article on all the pain management techniques your practice offers and end it with a promise that no procedure begins without a proper, plain English explanation of what’s going to take place to further reduce anxiety.

Let’s be honest. There will never be 100% perfect dental attendance.  But if you address patient concerns head on instead of pretending that they don’t exist and take the time to prove that your practice will provide a much more positive experience than a person may think you will find new patients. And they’re out there. Just like the survey says people want to visit the dentist—you just need to connect with those people.