Courtesy of Dental Economics Magazine

john_headshot_larger1By: Dr. John Nosti, DMD, FAGD, FACE, FICOI
In today’s economy, dentists are learning new tech- niques and procedures as a way to increase production in their offices, and to reduce open time in their schedules. Others are increasing marketing spending to help drive new patients to their practices. Given this scenario, dentists today should consider removable prosthodontics as a viable source of both new patients and income to their practices. There are many common misconceptions about denture patients. Dentists would be wise to unlearn myths regarding how denture patients feel and think about their existing dentures.

An independent survey of denture wearers was conducted from December 2013 to June 2014 by Cornerstone Research and Marketing. The results of this survey should help dentists realize the potential in removable prosthodontics, the areas of focus to meet their patients’ needs, communication points, and products available to improve results in the prosthodontic services they provide.

Common Myth No. 1:  DENTURE PATIENTS ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE CHEAPEST SOLUTION

Of the patients surveyed, 63% state they would pay more money for a denture that looks more natural; 76% state they would pay more money if their denture fit better; and 71% state they would pay more money for a denture that would resist stain better. These percentages indicate a clear opportunity available for dentists to discuss more esthetic denture teeth, more customized denture bases, and better processing techniques. Dentists should not assume that current denture wearers are aware of these options.

In fact, 47% reported they are unfamiliar with the available quality and esthetic options of dentures. A troubling statistic is that 54% state that their dentist did not give them options in quality or materials of their last-fabricated denture.

OPPORTUNITY: Focus on fit, function, and esthetics over price. use quality materials and work with a strong lab partner, such as an Authorized Ivoclar Vivadent removable Lab.

Common Myth No. 2: DENTURE PATIENTS ARE OF AN OLDER POPULATION WITH LESS INCOME

Of the patients surveyed, 86% were under the age of 60 years, while the largest grouping of patients was found to be 40 to 50 years old (31%). Twenty-five percent earned $50,000 to $75,000, while 24% earned over $75,000 per year. Seventy- four percent searched the internet and spent time on dentists’ websites for information on dentures.

OPPORTUNITY: younger patients are researching online. Have a strong digital presence to educate patients about removable options.

Common Myth No. 3: DENTURE PATIENTS ARE SATISFIED WITH THEIR CURRENT PROSTHESES

Even though patients might not report they would like new den- tures, 48% of patients surveyed are unhappy with their current prostheses. in fact, only 5% of patients surveyed reported they are completely satisfied with their current prostheses, with only 9% being completely satisfied with the appearance and would change nothing. seventy-seven percent would like to improve the comfort of their dentures. Almost 50% would like to approve
the appearance of their dentures. Forty-six percent would like to improve facial support from their current dentures, while 42% would like to improve tooth position. thirty-eight percent believe the gum tissue does not look natural. thirty-six percent would like to get a new denture within a year, and 13% stated they would get a new denture if their dentist told them to get a new one.

OPPORTUNITY: Educate yourself on the newest materials and processes available. Consider http://www.morethanadenture.com/pro for additional resources.

There are approximately 40 million edentulous people in the United States. Almost half of these are wearing dentures more than 10 years old. This is a tremendous opportunity for dentists looking for additional revenue streams. Dentists should consider using in-office communication tools, such as the Smile Selector, to help discuss the various options in tooth selection and processing. Patients are requesting more esthetic, better- fitting prosthetics that resist stain better, and they are willing to make the investment toward these ends.