Please Bring Your Smartphone: Part 2

March 19, 2018 Will Kelly DMD

In my last blog, I discussed the possible scenarios that could occur when your patient answers their phone during an appointment. Now, I’ll explore how you can leverage smartphones to your advantage in your dental practice.

Leveraging Smartphones in the Dental Practice

Which scenario would you hope might happen with you the most? Are these all valuable experiences? Do you KNOW YOUR PATIENT more by observing each behavior? Do you KNOW YOURSELF more from your level of engagement and influence on the outcome? How will you modify your future interactions for each patient from what you have learned?

Let’s face it, for the past couple of decades we’ve had it easy. If we chose, a whole wall could be filled with charts of Baby Boomer patients. Boomers are everywhere in great numbers, most have comprehensive needs, most have the means to care for themselves, most have a high level of trust. It was an ideal patient population and still is.

Now we have Millennials. Frankly, they are initially a tough personality for more seasoned practitioners to relate with (we look at them like spoiled kids). The stark reality is that they outnumber Boomers and have plenty of dental needs. They are the future of our workload.

To relate with Millennials, they need information fast. They need to see to believe and establish trust. Fortunately, they have a camera in their pocket. Sure, I still take my full photo series and we keep the intra-oral cameras in our rooms, but when I see the slightest glimmer of doubt in a Millennial, I ask if they can open the camera on their phone. Then I pull out a photo mirror.

It’s almost as if saving the image in their device’s storage is connecting to their memory bank. They look at it several times. They text the picture to friends and post on social media. They seek validation. From cracked teeth to gingival needs to caries – for my millennials, seeing is believing. (Now if I can keep them off social media while I’m prepping their teeth.)

Here are two photos of a tooth that a skeptical patient refused to crown because there were no symptoms. The “just fill it Doc” attitude changed with two simple snaps on their phone using a mouth mirror.

To be continued …

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About Author

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Will Kelly DMD

Dr. Will Kelly attended the North Carolina State University School of Design and received a BA in Communications. He went on to spend two additional years in post baccalaureate studies in Medical Sciences at both UNC Chapel Hill and Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Kelly graduated from the top ranked UNC School of Dentistry in 2004. His good hands and clinical abilities led to his being chosen as a teaching assistant to underclassmen in operative dentistry. In addition to clinical time in the dental school, Dr. Kelly had valuable experiences working in both the Durham VA Hospital and for the Indian Health Service in Wyoming. As a child, Dr. Kelly had the opportunity to assist his father on several dental mission trips in Haiti. After completing dental school, Dr. Kelly joined his father in private practice and served on the dental staff at Gaston Family Health Services, where he maintained a position on the board of directors. At this time Dr. Kelly also began his studies in advanced dentistry at the prestigious Pankey Institute in Miami, a continuing journey of learning that has shaped his philosophy and knowledge of the complexities of high-level dentistry. Today Dr. Kelly devotes over 100 hours a year studying with colleagues and mentors who are regarded as "Masters of Dentistry".

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