Just like humans, dogs and cats benefit from regular dental cleanings. Unfortunately, many clients tend to balk at the price and the fact that the pet needs to undergo anesthesia, which means that their pets don’t get the dental cleanings they need. Convincing clients of the importance of dental cleanings is a tough job for any veterinarian, but it can be crucial to the oral health of the animals you serve. Here are some tips to help you be more assertive with clients when recommending a dental cleaning.
Clarify the Consequences of Skipping Cleanings
Many dentists try to persuade clients to schedule a dental cleaning by pointing out the tartar build-up on the pet’s teeth. However, clients don’t always understand the dangers tartar can pose. Instead of simply telling a client that their dog’s mouth has a lot of build up, you need to explain the consequences of letting the tartar go untreated. Let clients know that dogs and cats can develop painful infections due to poor dental hygiene.
Focus on the Benefits
Clients generally do not like hearing about the health risks their pets face. Although words like “pain” and “infection” may spur some people to schedule a cleaning right away, others may react to hearing about the health consequences of skipping dental cleanings by refusing to talk or think about the issue. For these clients, it is important to focus on the potential benefits of teeth cleaning. These include fresher breath and healthier, whiter teeth. Talk positively about the procedure itself, reassuring the client that the pet can be safely anesthetized so they don’t feel any pain or distress.
Use Assertive Language
The language you use to talk about a dental cleaning matters. Confidently stating “let’s schedule the dental cleaning” is more likely to improve compliance than asking “do you want to do a dental cleaning?” This approach emphasizes that dental cleanings are an important part of pets’ oral care, rather than an optional add-on.
Clients aren’t always able to commit to a dental cleaning right away. If your client doesn’t want to schedule a cleaning at checkout, be sure to follow up a few days later. Remind them of the pet’s need for a dental cleaning and ask them to choose a convenient time. Remember to use assertive language to prompt the client into scheduling an appointment.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
Pictures often speak louder than words. Take a photo of the pet’s teeth so the client can clearly see the tartar build up. It is often easier to point out areas of particularly bad build up on an enlarged photo than on the teeth of a squirming pet. Give the photo to the client so they can take it home with them as a reminder of how badly the teeth need cleaning. This may help to remind the client to schedule a cleaning soon. You can also provide a picture of the pet’s teeth after the cleaning so the client can see the dramatic difference in cleanliness for themselves.
Veterinary dental cleanings are vital for protecting the oral health of cats and dogs. By using these tips in your practice, you can reduce client compliance problems and focus on caring for your animal patients.
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