As a dentist, you’re well-aware that dental care is not only essential to good oral health, but also to whole-body wellness. For example, gum diseases can, if left untreated, increase one’s risk of heart disease, lung infections, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. It has even been linked to cerebral damage. Early childhood visits are about more than warning off sugar bugs.
Of course, you already know this. But for your patients, it might be new information. For the parents of young children, it might be the last thing on their mind. Raising a child is mentally, physically, and emotionally challenging for everyone involved. It’s also expensive.
Given the many things parents must keep track of and pay for, it’s hard to blame them for forgetting about, or even consciously deprioritizing, dental visits. The thing is, this could cause serious problems for their little ones, and as a dentist, you can help them see that.
Explaining the significant impact dental health has on their child is half the battle. The other half is helping them see how they can afford to foster it, especially if they don’t have dental insurance. You might be thinking, “Well, if they’re uninsured, how can they?” The answer is dental membership plans.
Parents can pay slowly, in small chunks.
Dental membership plans work by putting patients on a care schedule and charging them every month or year. So let’s say your plan-participating member is going to have two cleanings each year. They might pay by month or for the year, but their payment will be decoupled from their visits. In the case of monthly plans, this gives them the opportunity to pay in more manageable amounts over time—without missing appointments.
When you’ve got a hungry young mouth to feed, fees to pay for school and activities, other doctors’ appointments to fret over, and constant clothes shopping to do for the ever-growing, the prospect of paying smaller monthly payments rather than $300 at one time is a deal maker.
You take one more task off of their plate.
The financial perspective isn’t the only reason parents will appreciate dental membership plans. They also save time!
We think we’ve made the point: They’re busy. Many times, they’re a little overwhelmed. But now, they don’t have to wait on a phone line for an hour, listening to elevator music with the phone stuck between ear and shoulder because they can’t spare any hands. Well, they’ll probably still have to do that sometimes, but thanks to your dental membership plan, it’ll happen less frequently. Because they won’t need to hound insurance agents to process claims and walk them through deductibles.
Not to mention that for many, dental insurance is far from adequate. In fact, it often hardly covers a thing. Instead of getting nowhere on the phone after waiting for what feels like an eternity, they could just sign up for your membership plan, pay the way they do for Netflix, and move on with their lives.
It keeps them on track with their child’s health.
And that makes everyone involved feel good, because it literally makes the kids feel good.
We discussed how bad oral hygiene can have serious health implications in the long term, but it can also negatively impact a child’s growth and development in the short term. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that could lead to everything from problems eating and speaking (which may need speech therapy for reversal later on), to distraction from learning and play alike. This has implications for intellectual and social development, especially given how formative these years are.
The conclusion is clear:
Poor oral health in the first decades of life can wreak havoc on the well-being of one’s children for decades to come. But you can help parents prevent this by sending reminders about their family’s dental needs. And since dental membership plans inherently put them on a set schedule—and automate payments when you work with a platform like DentalHQ—they get you one step closer to being the perfect team for parents and their little patients.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how DentalHQ can help you help children in your community. Or, if you’d like to continue exploring on your own, visit our recent blog post clearing up misconceptions about DMPs.