The thought of going to the dentist can be anxiety-inducing for some people. Dental patients may worry that a trip to the dentist will cost more than they can afford. They may be afraid that they’ll have to have a painful procedure done. Or they may simply have a long list of other things that they would rather do than take time out of their day to get their teeth checked.
Here are nine ways you can create a care experience that improves dental patients’ approach toward dental care, leaves them raving about you and turns them into walking ads for your practice.
Dental Patients’ Bill of Rights
Make it easy for dental patients to find and see you. Have a robust online presence, offer patients the option to request appointments online and provide accessible locations, parking and hours.
Train your staff to be friendly, kind and positive, from patients’ first phone interactions with your staff to the first time they step into your office to the moment they sit down in your dental chair.
You’re not the only person with a schedule to keep. Your dental patients have schedules too. Respect their time and don’t keep them waiting.
Understand that not every patient is excited to make that call for an appointment or come through your door. Help alleviate their concerns. Listen, explain what equipment you’ll use and what’s involved with procedures you will perform, and answer any questions they may have.
See everyone who comes to you for care. Learn about them, their story, their questions and their concerns. Give them your time and earn their trust. Stay in touch with them between visits and send reminder cards.
How and what you communicate makes a huge impact. Be clear with your patients about what they should expect. Be honest about what’s involved with procedures. Be transparent about the cost of services and help them understand their insurance, which can be confusing for patients. If they don’t have insurance, provide them payment plans or options to ensure that care is accessible.
Teeth and gums are sensitive. Having metal instruments poking and prodding your mouth is generally not pleasant. Prepare your patients. Listen to concerns. Be gentle and always use appropriate pain-management techniques.
When a patient calls to schedule an appointment, make sure your staff calls them back as soon as possible. If they call with a question or concern, get back to them right away. Assure them that you are available when they need you.
In addition to developing a personal relationship with your patients, your professionalism and expertise will set you apart. Make the best technology and equipment part of the treatment experience. Stay on top of best practices and training, and be active in your field. Provide optimal care with great outcomes.
As the care provider, you and your staff share the responsibility of ensuring that your dental patients understand what’s happening and what’s expected of them, and to create a positive experience. So pay attention, ask questions, address concerns in a kind and compassionate way, and deliver top all-around care. Make it about them. They’ll love your for it and sing your praises to the social media masses.
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