Eleanor Young talks to Sam Cook about how their practice saw the number of new Invisalign® enquiries triple during lockdown…
When practices were told to close their doors in March, dental teams may well have feared the worst. While there have been many challenges to cope with since COVID-19 first appeared, there have also been some unexpected positives that wouldn’t necessarily have crossed your mind on 23rd March.
One of those silver linings has been an uptake in new patient enquiries for Invisalign®. Several practices that I spoke to during lockdown and after reopening, reported more patients than usual asking about Invisalign®.
Increase in Invisalign® and finance
The Dentist at Liberty Place in Birmingham is one such practice. Sam Cook, Practice Manager, told me, ‘Our Invisalign® has been doing exceptionally well, which I would never have predicted at the start of lockdown. We usually have around one or two new enquiries a week, and we were getting around six in a week.
‘Of those, around two or three are also choosing to take up our patient finance, which was great for our cashflow – especially at that time.
‘Patients were telling us they were sitting at home thinking about these kinds of things they had always been interested in but hadn’t got around to. They were looking for ways to look and feel better, some wanted something to do as a treat as holidays had been cancelled, etc.’
Maximising surgery space
Sam said having so many enquiries for Invisalign® and patient finance was one of the reasons to be optimistic for the future, especially as it was a revenue-generating procedure that could be carried out at a time when AGPs could not, which also made for efficient use of the surgery space.
She added, ‘It is now a question of balancing the number of new Invisalign® patients, with the fallow time and SOPs, as well as managing the backlog as we move forward treating our regular patients and delivering routine care.
‘Post-reopening was definitely better than anticipated in terms of patients returning to the practice and new enquiries, and we just have to manage the logistics as well as we can.
‘If you can’t do AGPs, or you can only do them on set days because of what other dentists are doing in the building, it’s a better use of space to do treatments like Invisalign® or whitening because it’s a non-AGP and doesn’t take much time.’
A bright future
With the unexpected upturn in Invisalign® and the return of patients to the practice, Sam says she is optimistic about the future.
Sam said, ‘I’m feeling positive, not just about the financial side of things, but also about the way we will be working.
‘It was quite nerve wracking for the team to come back because dentistry has never looked like this before. But after the first week, everyone got into the swing and it just became the new norm.
‘It’s looking very positive in terms of the amount of treatments we have got planned and the amount of finance applications we are processing, and while we had some patients cancel their membership plan during lockdown, the majority have now re-started it following a phone call from us.
‘We’re not worried about next year, we’re just being positive, working through the backlog and seeing new patients and just looking forward to the levels of PPE required continuing to drop!’
Eleanor Young has been a Business Development Manager at Medenta, a long-established provider of patient finance, for six years. She has worked in dentistry for eight years, mostly in roles related to finance, and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to support practices and help to make their business sustainable.
Medenta offers some of the lowest subsidy rates in the market and is one of the few providers of finance solutions to also offer a comprehensive support service, including an online patient application portal and an e-learning suite. For more information call: 01691 684175, or visit: www.medenta.com.