How I developed my tooth whitening business plan

How I developed my tooth whitening business plan

Dental hygienist Melica Bastani discusses the benefits of using hygienists and therapists to carry out tooth whitening.

I am sure that many of my dental hygienist peers have thought about offering tooth whitening but been afraid to take that first step. Despite the fact I am very ambitious and forward thinking, I was admittedly nervous about approaching my practice about offering whitening.

A couple of years down the line, after meeting numerous obstacles and at times feeling immensely frustrated, I am now living the dream and my practice and patients are reaping the benefits.

It all started after I attended a whitening course delivered by Megan Fairhall in 2020. Megan was incredibly knowledgeable and experienced, gave lots of practical tips and was generous with her time and ongoing support, even months after the event.

Her enthusiasm and guidance triggered my desire to write a business plan to encourage my practice to start tooth whitening. Initially I used a Word document which was simple enough to jot down ideas and I undertook a quick inventory, listing what I knew, and what I needed to know to be able to make the plan a viable venture.

Proactively promote

I looked at the area where I worked; went onto practice websites, called a few of them and asked how much they were charging for whitening and what system they were using.  I also knew what the costs of buying Philips’ Zoom in-chair whitening and Zoom Daywhite and Nitewhite home treatment kits would be.

From this I was able to develop my treatment price point. That helped me project revenues based on one whitening case a week, one a fortnight, or one a month.

I was proposing creating a campaign to proactively promote the whitening service, and explained in my business plan how I wanted to put up posters in the waiting room to increase awareness and also work more closely with the practice team to maximise the exposure of our offering.

I also suggested a social media campaign and in house activities which would drive Zoom treatments post pandemic.

The greatest part of the promotion would be me however, and there was no cost associated with that.  We often underestimate how much of an asset we are.

Hygienists spend so much time with patients compared with dentists and the whitening conversation can come very easily and organically as part of the discussion.

Supporting figures

As my practice dentist was doing all the whitening at the time, transferring that responsibility onto me had to make financial sense for them, and this is why the business plan was there to support my proposition. Then I had to find my moment.

How often have you wanted to speak with your dentist on an important matter and be told that they could only spare a few minutes because of their hectic schedule?

I have to say that even with my ‘persuasive’ personality, I felt reassured that the plan was a good backup in case of brain fog or hesitancy. The business plan also gave the practice owner the chance to read my plan at their convenience after the discussion, and provide them with the supporting figures to review. I proposed that a 50/50 split of the lab costs and profits made business sense and this too was incorporated into the plan.

Despite my efforts, the practice I was working at did not embrace my plan. They had an older demographic and was very conservative – a bit old school – so did not really appeal to a younger market.

Some practice owners can also view their tooth whitening earnings as comfortable and precious, which they see as lost if transferred to the hygienist. It is in fact a short-sighted view as the transfer of responsibility should mean an increase in revenues for the practice, and not just for the hygienist.

It frees up the dentists to undertake restorative cases which drive even greater revenues.

Higher revenue

A business plan should show how your involvement as a hygienist, can allow dentists to focus on other private treatments which generate higher revenues. You can demonstrate that they actually stand to lose potential income when a dentist performs whitening treatments. It makes less financial sense than if the hygienist undertakes it.

Later that year, I went for an interview with a new practice and explained how confident I was in taking on tooth whitening responsibility for them. The new practice team were very supportive of my ambition and career growth, and that is how I started offering whitening treatments.

I understand that some of my peers might question whether they have enough confidence to offer whitening, let alone approach their practice owner to take up the responsibility.

Happy to help

I would advise that holding a whitening open day could be a good way of testing the water – a hygienist/therapist could put together an invitation list for it and perform all the whitening, which would show the practice owner their commitment to whitening. Philips are more than happy to help support a whitening open day.

Had it not been for Megan Fairhall who gave me my initial skills, and could answer my questions after the course, I may not have had the conviction to persevere.

So ideally, hygienists or therapists wanting to take the plunge should have someone like Megan in their corner, and of course a whitening brand they can trust – this combination will give them confidence in their professional skills and treatment outcomes.

For more information about Philips Zoom whitening system and training courses for hygienists/therapists please contact:

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