When it comes to improving clinic flow, patient experience, and treatment plan acceptance as a dental practice owner, you’ve probably considered marketing your business on social media. While prudent, it also serves as a safeguard for your long-term interests. Due to increased awareness of the importance of oral health, the global dentistry market is expected to grow to over $60 billion by 2024, resulting in more patients and opportunities, but also more competition. Using social media marketing to attract potential patients’ eyes and teeth is an effective strategy. Many dentists ask,   “Does a dental PR work?” In the same way that flossing works, the answer is always “Yes!” “, which should be practiced every day (more on that later). For now let’s dig deep into Rwanda’s oral healthy (dental care) to clear display the image of this industry in Rwanda which at the end serves an opportunity to dental clinics in Rwanda in both helping the government feel the gap of not reaching many Rwandans as possible as at the same time clinics will also be generating money from this since most of services will be accessed by Rwandans .According to the 2016 reports by the Rwandan District Hospital. Rwanda had 48 dentists in a country with a population of almost 12 million people, which translates to about one dentist for every 250,000 potential patients. By comparison, the United States has approximately 1 dentist per every 1,600 patients. Despite major efforts to rebuild the nation, the statistics remain in despair and the need for more dental care professionals is greater than ever.

Most people in rural areas—about 80 percent of the population—don’t own cars, motorcycles, or bicycles, nor do they have the money to pay for a ride from someone who does. As a result, Rwanda’s thirty-six district hospitals saw more people complaining of tooth and gum disease than any other ailment in each of the last ten years.  The Ministry of Health conducts a national survey every five years, it contains no questions about oral health. The question would be how many Rwandans goes for dental checkups? Is it because they can’t afford it but even those who can afford it and with insurances working for Ngo’s and other institutions   don’t mostly practice this (go to see dentist) at monthly basis.

“There were many beautiful smiles,” said Donna Hackley, a member of the research team and instructor at Harvard School of Dental Medicine. “But when we looked inside, particularly past the incisors, there was plenty of decay and plenty of perio conditions.” (Hackley also trains faculty at the University of Rwanda’s School of Dentistry as part of the Rwandan government’s Human Resources for Health partnership.)  From  https://tuftsmagazine.com/. This so true Most of us as Rwandans we smile yet inside they are plenty of decay we wait until we loss   sleep due to pain, its then we are reminded to go for treatment.

 “The results were striking. Although the literature suggests that dental caries is less prevalent in most African countries than in many industrialized nations, Morgan said, more than half of the Rwandan children and adults surveyed had untreated caries. He and his colleagues found that 70 percent of the people they reviewed had never been to an oral-health care provider—even though significant numbers reported dental pain or difficulty chewing. For the adults, more than half of those ages twenty to thirty-nine, and two-thirds of those over forty, reported difficulty doing their usual jobs because of their mouth, teeth, or dentures. Most people over forty reported difficulty chewing. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents reported painful aching in the mouth at some point during the past year, including 90 percent of those over age forty. And among those who had been to a dental professional, almost all—98 percent—said it was pain that drove them there. “Most everyone,” Morgan said, “had some type of dental problem or need.” From Tuft survey that was published in Tufts magazine.

                           A member of the research team practices before   heading into the field.        

                                         (Photo from https://tuftsmagazine.com).

Why does not most Rwandans go to dental clinics for checkups and wait until it gets worst?

According Hackley’s survey ,more than half of the people in the survey said that cost was the main reason they could not get dental care. This despite that fact that nearly 80 percent of Rwandans surveyed have low-cost health insurance through a national program called Mutuelles de Sante, which includes dental services. So whether they meant the cost of treatment, or other, associated costs—such as transportation or lost wages—was unclear, Morgan said, and worthy of further investigation.

                                          Tooth decay treatment   

It’s now up to the Rwandan government to decide on solutions. But this baseline research did point to several challenges as Rwanda’s health ministry moves ahead. One challenge is cultural. A practice called ibyinyo, found largely in eastern Rwanda and neighboring countries, involves removing the cuspid tooth buds from babies or young children by traditional healers—raising the possibility of infection and other complications. The erupting teeth are often blamed as the cause of GI distress in youngsters. Nearly 7 percent of the children ages two to five showed evidence of ibyinyo, and 4 percent of children aged six to eleven.

Morgan’s research also points to the need of increasing the use of oral hygiene supplies such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, particularly in rural areas. Another challenge is related to infrastructure: Six percent of people showed evidence of fluorosis, mottling of the teeth from excess consumption of fluoride, possibly because of high fluoride levels in drinking water in the Western Province, where evidence of fluorosis was most prevalent.

All of this information will be put to use as Rwanda plots out its next moves. “Once you document the need, now you have evidence-based data for making policy, for deciding about training programs, for surveillance,” Hackley said. And, added Morgan, “The data can be used for advocacy at the community, district, provincial, and national levels.”

  The usage of social media platforms in Rwanda as an industry that is growing faster will help dental problems in citizens of Rwanda. On addressing Rwandans with different tips of how to take care of their teeth, good products to use and provisions of different information of services they offer as clinics will help them to brand themselves   . information is the key to knowledge  , dental problems issues in Rwanda has to be informed to easily come up good  solutions, usage of social media  platforms such as Instagram and Facebook will easily  link citizens to dentists and   to  brand themselves on this social media platforms since most of people who uses them are the very people who are so interested in knowing  services they offer but are no  way to be found on this platforms ,in Rwanda mostly hotels ,shops and entertaining industries are the nearly the only one putting a lot of efforts on using this platform at 96% .healthy institutions which I might include clinics (dental) only uses this at emergency cases for example during this pandemic of covid-19 we have seen how RBC(Rwanda bio medical center ) has  helped Rwandans to easily access  information of  what was going on ,this itself proves the power of social media platforms once well used .

 There were 4.12 million internet users in Rwanda in January 2021 and the number of social media users in Rwanda was equivalent to 6.5% of the total population in January 2021. Which is good way to brand yourself through addressing the problem and giving out a solution as dentist /dental clinic you have already seen problem .the questions is, shall we keep waiting patience with dental problems to come for us or we will step forward to find them? On addressing them with different tips, services and offers we are giving on  a diary, weekly and monthly basis through our social media platforms can help us reach them easily.

  Below is google map image showing some of dental clinics located in Rwanda.

   what should Rwandan dental clinics do to brand themselves on social media platforms?

  Influence is a critical factor.

Evidence suggests that, when used correctly, social media marketing can be a powerful tool for increasing brand awareness and influencing purchasing decisions. In fact, 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals, and 78 percent of those consumers say that companies’ social media posts influence their purchases.

 Create a sense of credibility and trust

Establishing credibility online is similar to establishing credibility offline: be genuine, consistent, and open. You can build a reputation and relationships before meeting a patient by using a social media channel such as a Facebook or Instagram pag. Not sure where to begin? Try using your knowledge to educate patients about new procedures and treatments, as well as provide your unique perspectives on them. This is an opportunity for you to spread your wings, so to speak, and provide insight into your practice, its team, and expertise while also showcasing your unique services.  If you’re comfortable with video, you could try uploading a short clip (30-60 seconds) discussing a topic.

Establish a brand voice that commands respect

It takes time and consistent posting on social media if one of your social media marketing goals is to become an authority on the latest dental practices, technologies, and trends. What is the advantage? You’ll gradually gain the trust and credibility of your peers, who will validate your insights through engagement.

The first step is to maintain a steady flow of content on your social channels, such as: When discussing the most recent dental technologies,

  • Disseminating educational articles written by industry professionals demonstrating how new technology or treatments are available at your practice
  • Posting images of your team interacting with a patient (a sort of in-action picture of what a patient can expect)
  • Talking about the latest dentistry technologies
  • Sharing educational articles written by industry experts

Brand voice: What It Is & Why It Matters | Sprout Social

For a dental practice to stand out from the competition, it needs a constant stream of content. Scheduling social media posts on a regular basis and creating content that reflects your brand and the interests of those who follow you are key to this. Reach and engagement metrics will be the first to show a return, but conversions like new patients and bookings will follow soon after.

Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth advertising

An average patient generates $900-$1,000 in billings per year for a general dentistry clinic, and will stay with the same practice for about 10 years, not including referrals. That’s a patient value of about $10,000 over the course of their life. Establishing a strategy to retain current patients through social media marketing is no laughing matter when you have a figure that large.

 Is there a better way to keep your current patients happy?

Keep in touch with your patients — social media marketing makes it as easy as 1-Tooth-3! You can, for example, inform your current patients about new dental treatments by holding Facebook and Instagram contests or by simply responding to all questions or comments posted on your dental practice’s social media channels. Another effective way to stay in touch is to send out a quarterly e-newsletter that includes current events and health tips.

Are there any plans to attract new patients?

On social media, you want to influence a new patient’s purchasing decision, which is where word-of-mouth becomes crucial. It is likely that patients will engage with your content by liking and sharing it with their family and friends, increasing your reach (a.k.a. influence). The topic of driving engagement and the importance of high-quality, consistent content will be covered in a future blog entry.

Put your money where your mouth is with paid campaigns

Social media platforms such as Facebook Instagram and LinkedIn can be used to reach patients in a cost-effective manner. Dental marketers can also take advantage of different targeting tools to reach new audiences quickly with the help of these tools, visit us our website at  https://afrinnovators.com/ we link you to your audience.

Honestly, do I really need to respond to negative feedback?

Dentists should probably respond to negative comments more than positive ones, despite the fact that it’s about as much fun as pulling teeth. Rather than just dealing with one unhappy patient, you’re also demonstrating to potential and current patients your professionalism and concern for their well-being. The use of social media marketing in dental practices is a powerful tool that requires finesse and planning. As a result, you should be using these platforms as well.

 In Rwanda, the first oral health survey published in 2018 revealed that nearly two-thirds (64.9%) of the 2097 participants had caries experience and 54.3% had untreated caries. Among adults 20 years of age and older, 32.4% had substantial oral debris and 60.0% had calculus. A majority (70.6%) had never visited an oral health provider. This needs attention and I believe with the usage of social media platforms this mind set and attitude can change.

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