Lesson #2: CORE Lesson #2 – Visuals for Engagement

About This Lesson

Instructions coming soon..


Action Items

  1. Make sure you have a visual for each component of Wellness Pyramid.
  2. Find simple ways to incorporate more visuals into your process.
  3. Incorporate intraoral camera wands into your process in addition to regular intra/extraoral photography.

Full Video Transcript / MP3

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Hello. Welcome back. This is Dr. Steve Schluentz. I want to welcome you back to Module Number Five, which is The Guided Discovery Process.

If you remember the last video we talked about, this is one of the most highly variable parts of the whole thing because everybody's exam can be so drastically different. As I said before, the biggest thing is to keep it as simple as possible at this first initial exam, this is where a lot of dentists make mistakes. They get way too complicated, way too convoluted, and it becomes very difficult for the patient to follow. That's going to lead into what we're going to talk about in this short video today, which is all about Using Visuals for Engagement.

I remember, one of my mentors first told me, the eye-way is the highway to the mind. I thought about that, the eye-way is the highway to the mind. Just think about the way that your patients process information now, it's so drastically different than 20, 30 years ago. That, as you're going through, the more you can really focus on creating great visual engagement, the patients are going to be able to understand a lot faster. They understand when they look at a picture, what the picture is going to look like. So when we go through this, I'm going to talk to you about some of the visuals that I use, just to give you some primers and think about it. You can't fault by saying, I am just going to use as many visuals as I possibly can. That is the easiest way to do this.

I think cameras are the best thing that's happened to dentistry in a long, long time because it allows the patient to see what I'm seeing. When you have 15, for example, and it has MODLF Amalgam that's 35 years old and they say, "Well you know, I've had that filling for 35 years now, and I don't think there's anything wrong with it." And then you take a picture of it and they go, "Oh gosh, that's in my mouth?" You don't want to use a scare tactic, but that's a visual for engagement. They now can see what it is that you're seeing on a daily basis.

For me, I always think the biggest visual for engagement, and I planted that seed early during the interview, was the health and disease pictures. I want the patient to understand what health looks like and I want the patient to understand what disease looks like because, when I take photos of their mouth, I'm going to compare it to that health and disease picture. So you have to have a structure in place that allows you to take some extraoral photos at this first visit. It is the most important thing you do. In fact, if you skip all other things and you just took extraoral photos and intraoral photos with a good DSLR camera, and you had the lighting on point, and you had everything in focus, and you were able to take those disease pictures, health pictures, and their pictures, you will be astonished at how much more your case acceptance will improve, with just that one thing. It's unbelievable.

Then I use Perio Visuals. So again, remember what I'm doing, I'm working my way up the pyramid. I'm going to start with Perio Visuals. Now, I don't ... I'm not a proponent like, you have to use some software. I use Structured Chart for Perio and I have a ... it sounds terrible. I have a love/hate relationship with Structured Chart because the way that it ... I think it's brilliantly designed. I love it as a dentist. But I do have a hard time getting my hygienist to engage with it.

It's not the easiest tool to use, but I look at it this way, I'm tracking plaque, bleeding and pocket depths, and I'm doing it in a way that patients can make the assimilation between plaque and bleeding. Plaque's what causes disease. Bleeding is inflammation. Inflammation usually follows plaque. So that bleeding follows plaque and then the pockets are a result of that bleeding and inflammation. What I try to do is get my patients in that goal setting mode that we talked about, with Perio first. All I want you to do is make a commitment to me that you're going to eliminate plaque and bleeding. And if you can eliminate plaque and bleeding, we're on the right path.

So I use Structured Chart, and it's got graphs, and it's got ways to be able to monitor that goal setting mode in the office, and I think that's so, so vital. There's a little storyboard that goes with it. You can do any type of storyboard variation where basically, a really healthy gum tissue has three millimeters pockets or less, no plaque, no bleeding. Between three and four is the signs of inflammation, that's the start of the disease process, and you need to know that and we want to try to correct it before it gets too far down hill. And there's a storyboard that goes along with it.

I can't share the storyboard because I'm not licensed to share the storyboard with you, but, if you think logically about periodontal disease, the ADA has a bunch of pictures about periodontal disease. You craft the story, it goes back to story selling. Creating this idea and this emotional connection to plaque and disease that, left uncheck, over time will create more problems if you're prone to getting periodontal disease.

Then Tooth Decay Visuals. I use the Intraoral Photos, and the camera, the wands. I want patients to understand what their teeth look like. This was a game changer, even for single tooth dentistry. If you're not using a camera on a daily basis to show stuff you're just missing a golden opportunity for even single tooth dentistry. It's skyrocketed my case acceptance.

And then I can take the picture and actually have, in a hygiene room, for example, if there's something that I want to talk to my patient about, I just don't have time, I can take a photo and have my hygienist say, "Okay, I want you to point out this decay and see what they want to do about it."

Tooth Wear Visuals. This is absolutely vital why you show healthy and disease picture. Tooth wear is the hardest thing in dentistry to describe to somebody because they go, "Oh, don't only the teeth wear out over time?" No, not true. It's not true at all. So I want to show them healthy teeth versus worn teeth, and then show them their teeth. That tooth wear visual is absolutely essential.

And then Long Term Health photos. And the way that I can do it, I can show patients that I've had in the past that they've been restored and this is what they look like. This is what healthy teeth look like. I want them to get thinking about what's possible for them.

You need visuals for goals. So if you look at these, Long Term Health photos, Tooth Decay Visuals, Perio Visuals, the health disease picture, all of these allow goal setting to be easier for patients. Something they can follow. The Structure Chart does this. Master Plans do this.

I'm not presenting a Master Plan at this initial ... I'm not even usually presenting a Master Plan at the initial review of findings. The Master Plan is that Long Term Plan to get them on a path to health. That is a goal setting mechanism to the max. All I'm trying to do is let them set simple goals first. If they walk out of there and they say, "I'm just making a commitment to reduce the amount of plaque and bleeding in my mouth," awesome. I know that little things lead to bigger things down the road. It's like anything.

Dental Sales Secrets is a great example. This is my Entry Level Program. When I do Team Workshops, and I do One-on-One Coaching, and I do Mindset Work, this is the gateway, and if I can make you make a commitment that you're going to work on your new patient process and your marketing, I know, down the road, if this is creating a lot of value for me, guess what, I know you're going to want to work with me further to continue to hone your process. I understand that. The same thing for your patients. You have to understand that these little goals now, set bigger goals in the future.

So your Action Steps is: make sure you have a visual for each component of the wellness pyramid, and use those things, become a master at using these visuals. Remember the eye-way is the highway to the mind. Find simple ways to incorporate more visuals into your process. Find ways to incorporate more visuals even in your hygiene recare. It's a game changer guys. You have to understand that. And then incorporate intraoral camera wands in your process and add, in addition to your regular intra or extraoral photography.

So if you've got a DSLR, add wands as well, show them tooth by tooth. You could even take that wand, and not even have to take pictures of every tooth, but just do a wand and let them follow along with you. Have a visual in front of them so they can see what the mouth looks like and show them, this is what I'm seeing, see this, it's like a ... it's a terrible analogy because it's the other end, but, you do a colonoscopy, and they go in there and you can see what everything looks like. That's disgusting, but, as a patient, it's very engaging. I wonder what that looks like? This same thing happens in the mouth. The more you can give them visual aids, the more engaged they will be, and down the road, the more they're going to accept. It's a game changer. So you have to make sure you have visual cues and visual aids in your process.