Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Do our older patients need more dental work?
The correct answer to this question could affect all kinds of things we do in the dental office; from the supplies we order to the services we provide even to our office location. However, prior to the use of digital technology, getting answers to these simple questions was tedious, expensive and unreliable. As a result we would just guess. Sure, we’d say to ourselves it seems to me my older patients need more work, But do they really?
Now with digital technology and the use of e-services we can get accurate answers to these questions quickly and easily as a byproduct of doing business and using a computer. No more guessing.
So, do older patients need more dental work? The answer will probably surprise you. (These numbers were generated by “Practice Activator” a unique e-service that finds and re-activates patients.)
If patients maintain a recommended re-call process and visit the dentist every six to twelve months the amount of money spent per dental appointment is essentially the same for twenty year olds, forty year olds and even sixty year olds.
However if a patient slips out of re-care and fails to see the dentist for two years the money spent per dental appointment by sixty year olds is more than double that spent by twenty somethings. In fact the cost per visit starts increasing at about age forty.
I believe there are two lessons to be learned from these numbers.
- Preventions does pay. Keeping patients in a good re-care program keeps costs down.
- When patients, especially patients over forty become inactive they are likely to develop problems and if we can find and re-activate those people it will improve their dental health and bring additional income to the office.