How often are you confronted in your clinic with a patient holding a cellphone in front of their face, oblivious to everything around them, as you approach to continue their treatment? Their attention is completely diverted from not only their orthodontic care, but also from any notice of their caregivers.

One strategy to avert your patients’ attention from their devices is to directly address and distract their focus.

You ask, “Hey, are you doing selfies?”

No matter their response, position yourself behind their head in anticipation of “bombing” their next selfie.

Now, channeling your best impression of Norma Desmond—from the 1950s classic movie, Sunset Boulevard—say, “I’m ready for my selfie close-up.” Then simply wait.

JayBowman_Selfie3A nearby staff member will often further prompt the patient (who is often trying to stash their phone now that they’ve been called out) with the statement, “Doctor likes selfies, and he’s waiting.”

You now have their attention and more than likely they will actually take a selfie with you that they may (or may not) post or “tag” on Instagram, SnapChat, or Facebook, etc.

In this less than real “Cecil B. DeMille moment,” you will have likely redirected the patient’s attention back to the task-at-hand: improving their smile and, if so inclined, it might stimulate a touch of social media attention for the practice, too.

S. Jay Bowman, DMD, MSD, is on the editorial advisory board of Orthodontic Products and is in private practice at Kalamazoo Orthodontics in Michigan.

*Special thanks to our patient, Madi Lovell, for being a good sport and our model.