By Deborah Dopson-Hartley, RDH

In the last issue of Building The Power Practice, I discussed characteristics of the aesthetic hygienist and encouraged dentists to guide their hygienists in that direction.

Effective aesthetic hygienists learn to see what their dentist sees. They pre-diagnose treatment plans with accuracy because they understand the complete restorative concept.

The aesthetic hygienist is also an effective salesperson. Although most would admit being reluctant to assume the responsibility of the salesperson, their lives are filled with sales. We sell safety to our children, ideas to our bosses, and vacation plans to our spouses.

Adopt the mindset of owing it to your patients to educate them about what they need for their dental health and to encourage them with the outstanding results they can achieve through aesthetic dentistry.

This is easier said than done, I know, but all that most staff members need, is increased confidence, which will come from experience.

To help you get that experience and speed your transition into a dynamic aesthetic hygienist sales pros, I have prepared a specific script (divided into six themes) for you to use to hone your ability to promote aesthetic dentistry, and bring a steady flow of cases to your practice.

I encourage you to carefully read the scripts that follow. They are specific to my office and not intended to be quoted verbatim. It is more important to grasp their themes and tome, so that you can use whichever part of the script is needed for your interaction with each patient.

The Road to High-Tech Dentistry

In the 1940's abscessed teeth were quite common. When the pain became too much to bare, these teeth were extracted. A dental cavity was the number one disease of the body during this time.

The American Dental Association discovered certain areas of the country where communities experienced little or no tooth decay while other areas had rampant, uncontrolled decay. It turned out that the areas with the low decay had a high concentration of a poison called fluoride in their water system.

Upon the ADA's recommendation, president Kennedy signed the Fluoridation Act in 1962, which changed the course of dentistry forever. It initiated fluoridating community water systems, implemented fluoride programs in the public school systems, and brought about fluoridated products like tooth paste, mouthwash, vitamins, and allowed us to deliver fluoride in the dental practice.

Finding this cavity preventer freed up the dental community to explore new treatment options in periodontal therapy, develop new manufacturing methods and produce better dental materials, like dental sealants. Dental sealants are based on an adhesive material obtained through NASA research and can stick to teeth without drilling, giving teeth an excellent barrier to decay.

Other improved materials allow us to perform minimally invasive dentistry, which retains as much natural tooth structure as possible. God is great, man is not, and there is no man-made product as good as the enamel that God gave you. Past treatment options were extractions, root canals, and crowns.

Crowns require removing a lot of tooth structure to make room for the medicated base lining protecting your nerve, a layer of cement, metal for strength and porcelain for cosmetics. This procedure requires us to remove all of your enamel and place the margins of the restoration under the gum. You know that is the hardest place in your mouth to clean, and that will make future breakdown occur sooner.

Today, dentists like Dr. Wright, because of their extensive training, can utilize the new materials and technology to perform for you with what we call minimally invasive dentistry. This advanced technology saves as much of your natural enamel as possible.

Closing the Sale

It is unfortunate that treatment choices today are still directed by dentistry of the past. The old restorations your parents had put in your mouth 25 years ago are breaking down. When you look at mercury-based black filling in your tooth, you are looking at the tip of the iceberg. The filling is actually larger at the gum line inside the tooth. The metal expands and contracts with hot and cold and corrodes from acids, like soft drinks. This weakens the walls and places stress fracture lines that you can visibly see in these pictures.

Dr. Wright will be re-placing this quadrant of old dentistry with restorations of new dentistry. They will be stronger, less invasive, and beautiful. We have you on the five-year plan. We will restore one quadrant per year and during the fifth year we will improve your smile.

If you would like to look better before they are functional, you have that option as well. We now have the ability to make worn, chipped, crooked, and discolored teeth beautiful like mine without removing much of your natural tooth structure.

If we could improve your smile, make it younger, sexier and more attractive, would this be something you'd be interested in? May I take a picture of your smile so I can show you what your future smile will look like?

Marketing the Doctor

Dr. Wright is a clinical instructor for the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. She has invested over fifty thousand dollars of her own money and hundreds of hours in continued education to obtain her degree of expertise. She performs and utilizes dentistry's most advanced materials with outstanding success. (I love to market Dr. Wright and her accomplishments. In many interviews, it is all I need to talk about.)

Confidence in our Procedure
(or Slam the Amalgam)

The technology and materials we will be using are extremely technique sensitive. We must maintain as near perfect tissue health as possible. Bleeding contamination is disastrous. To keep the area isolated she uses a rubber protection dam over the site. This will keep it as sterile as possible and also keep you as safe as possible. The rubber dam prevents you from swallowing mercury and metal pieces or inhaling mercury or metal vapors into your lungs.

We use a high powered evacuation system to suction the airborne vapors out of this room. These vapors go into our trapping system, and then into our biohazard waste system which is picked up by the biohazard waste company.

Please understand that this mercury-laden material is considered biohazardous waste and is not allowed in the environment according to the EPA. it is only legal inside your mouth.

Your insurance will help you pay for us to restore your teeth using this biohazardous waste in your mouth and the mouth of your children...but we won't do that.

We will be restoring the quadrant with 2-4 restorations. Dr. Wright will be able to fabricate some of them inside your mouth because of their small size. Others will be fabricated at the lab due to the extensive involvement of decay and breakdown.

"Wow, I bet that's expensive!"

Think about how important your mouth is to your daily happiness and all of the pleasurable things you do with it. You kiss the people you live and you allow the people you love to kiss you. A kiss is a wonderful thing. A kiss with dentures is not.

When you smile you do so because you feel good. What is more enjoyable than a good belly laugh? Do you want to have to censure your natural laugh response for fear of losing your teeth?

What about the pleasures of eating whatever you want? Whether it's McDonald's french fries, a fabulous sauce or fresh fruit, that wonderful combination of taste, texture, and consumption is one of life's ultimate joys. How much is that worth to you?

The cost to restore your mouth may cost about as much as a Honda car (I like to use Hondas for comparison because of their well-known stability, dependability and longevity). But I can assure you that whatever we do will last longer than the next two or three cars you purchase. With proper maintenance and care even longer lifetimes are possible.

How long will it last?

I can't give you an exact number. I know my old dentistry lasted 30 years before I replaced it. But if you thought it was hard to control dental disease when you were young, strong and healthy, imagine how difficult it's going to be when you're not.

Please keep in mind that if you were able to destroy God's work which was designed to last your entire life, our dental materials don't have a chance. But we can help you keep your newly restored mouth if you implement good oral hygiene, follow proper maintenance protocol and control the destructive substances that you place in your mouth.

That about wraps it up for this edition. These scripts were prepared from actual dialogues at my office. Obviously, you will want to customize them to represent the doctors and facilities of your office. As you seek to gain experience and confidence, I encourage you to emulate the tone of these scripts, if not the actual information. It is this proactive educate-and-inspire style of dialogue that is responsible for much of my success as a top producing aesthetic hygienist.