Dentist Office Video Slideshows

It's hard to trace exactly when the changeover occurred, but sometime within the past decade the dental community made a striking decision. No longer was it adequate to engage in a waiting room pamphlet-based soft sell of available services. In the old days, after you finished reading Newsweek and started scanning the area for other good magazines, a small table offering generic materials about porcelin veneers might catch your eye. Maybe you'd walk over and read through them - maybe not. It was all very calm, opt-in and low-pressure. Downright civilized. Then the video screens showed up.

The before and after photo story is a compelling narrative in the Western world. When a TV infomerical for an ab machine morphs a before shot of some pudgy loser into an after shot of some ripped dude kicking ass, I am always impressed. No, that pudgy guy isn't an aesthetic ideal, but he's certainly not offensive. The same cannot be said of the ravages of periodontosis.

But dentists everywhere seem to love showing frightful before and after video slideshows. Sometimes the TV is mounted in the waiting room - but most often in the examining room. What I find strange about this practice is that these aren't personal highlight reels. I'm quite confident that my dentist was not the one responsible for any of the work being displayed. These are just strange, abstract horror stories with remarkably happy endings.

Not only do these montages make patients less comfortable in an already tense environment, they also don't really make all that much sense when analzyed as point-of-sale signage. After all, if I'm that guy with only two teeth in my mouth, I hardly think that seeing a before/after combo that matches my predicament will put me over the edge and convince me to get some work done. If my problem is on the screen and I'm at the dentist, chances are high that I'm not there for a 6 month cleaning.

These screens should only be utilized to pitch the more mundane cosmetic services (such as teeth whitening). Unbelievable success stories need to be saved for campaigns outside of the office, to wow people who thought there was no hope left for their smile.

photo credit: markpolansky.com

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