Going to the dentIst can be a stressful experience for many. They may have had a bad experience before or a friend or family member may have. There’s a lot of advice for people to prepare themselves to go for an appointment. What about efforts on the dentist’s end to make things easier for those that visit?
The patient shouldn’t bear the burden of making themselves feel comfortable in the dentist’s chair. That kind of thinking is what leads to skipped appointments and potential gum and teeth issues down the road.
This post can be considered helpful information for the dentist fresh out of school and has either opened their own practice or joined a larger one, a dentist in the middle of their career, or even an experienced one who may need a bit of a refresher.
When it comes to office decor, the dentist should not be thinking about function over form. A patient should feel like they are in a bright open space, not a drab one that feels akin to a dungeon. First impressions play a huge part, and visuals are extremely important.
Besides the aesthetics, this also points to the critical need to have staff training for everyone in the office so that they know what is expected of them when each patient walks in the door. The front desk people should be warm and inviting, not making the patients feel like they are just a number waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Clear Communication Lines
When it comes to dentistry, neither the patient nor the dentist should try to be mind readers. The dentist should explain what is going to happen during the visit, no matter how routine it may seem. They should also encourage the patient to express their concerns.. and also verify any medical issues. This way there are no surprises.
Now is also the time to discuss any anxiety treatments if the patient is still nervous and need something to take the edge off. This can be anything from a mild relaxant to full sedation – though in all cases, there should be someone with them that can drive the patient home afterwards.
This communication also includes a dentist following up after a patient’s visit. This can be extremely critical for those who have just opened a practice and are not well-known. It can foster patient trust and make a repeat visit even more likely.
Be Attuned To Patient Needs
Business can be very busy for dentists. There’s no getting around that. Having a surplus of patients doesn’t mean that those people that come in have to be made to feel like they are on an assembly line where a preset routine is performed on each of them.
Time can be of the essence, but it’s important for the hygienist and dentist to use it wisely. They need to pay attention to how the patient is feeling and act accordingly. Like other fields of medicine, a strong bedside manner can mean a world of difference in calming a patient’s nerves.
Confidence Is Key
This is a fine, but oh-so-important, line to walk. Yes, the dentist, is the expert. There’s a reason that they have those dental school diplomas in prominent sight on the walls of their offices – they put in the years of work and retained a lot of knowledge in the interim.
Certainly, they may be eminently qualified in their field, by that doesn’t need to lead to a “My Way or the Highway” attitude with patients when discussing a diagnosis or treatment plan. This can circle back to the first piece of advice in terms of communication. Few things upset a patient more than the feeling that they are not being listened to.
The dentist can demonstrate that they know what they are talking about without making the patient feel like they are being belittled. On the other hand, they shouldn’t let the patient derail the conversation – but show that the are listening to any fears. Again – this is a fine line but if a dentist walks it well, patients will respect them and want to be repeat visitors at their practice.
What it comes down to is the dentist working with each patient and treating each of them like the individual they are. Offer solutions and work within each patient’s framework – within reason. It will most likely ensure that they get generous word of mouth and repeat referrals. Yes, dentists, like other people, are human beings and are capable of having bad mood days – but managing those can lead to a more productive dental practice.
The staff at VIP Dental Center understand all of this – that is why they aim to make sure that the patients start feeling at ease from the very second they walk in the door to when they leave. They value communication and will be glad to answer questions when people call for appointments: 727-787-2424.