Building relationships that take your dental practice to the next level.

We’ve all heard someone complain about how much they “hate the dentist.” Of course, we know it’s not the dentist the patient feels ill towards, but rather the thought of the procedures that can take place while sitting in the dentist’s chair.

Most people certainly don’t look forward to going to the dentist. (I was an anomaly in this case.) But what is stopping us from changing this perception?

As someone who used to love going to the dentist, I believe the experience certainly has the potential to be an enjoyable one. I’m not suggesting fillings or root canals can be fun, by any means, but I do think, by refocusing on the patient and putting their needs first, dental professionals can have a great influence on their overall experience.

So, how can you ensure your patient’s next visit to the chair is an enjoyable one?

You build better relationships.

 Here are three key steps to building rapport with patients so you can gain their trust and ensure they feel safe and cared for during every visit:

1. Don’t be afraid to get a little personal.

While the dentist’s office should always be a place of professionalism, it doesn’t hurt to share some personal experiences. We’re all human here, and this is how we relate to one another. Make the effort to get to know your patient. Create real conversation around hobbies, family and other interests.  Remember the names of your patient’s family members, what they do for work and for fun, and then ask questions about these details again next time you see them. This can go a long way in making the patient feel comfortable and lessening the overall anxiety of the visit.

2. Be open and informative.

There’s nothing worse than feeling a bunch of metal tools poking and prodding at your teeth and gums while having no clue what they are meant to do. Take the time to explain procedures to your patient. In fact, go a step further and look to teach them something new about their oral health. Patients look to practitioners to be their educators. They want to understand their treatment options and consequences. Be sensitive to your educational approach, but be sure to present the opportunity for your patient to learn. Offer further resources in case they are interested in reading up once they return home.

3. Anticipate their needs, and follow through.

The most effective way to show a patient you care is by learning to anticipate their needs, and follow through on what you say you are going to do. This is how you build trust and credibility with your patient. It shows them you are making an effort to listen to and understand them, which makes them feel appreciated and valued.

While some of this advice may sound like common sense, it is worth the added effort. You may be well educated and exceptionally qualified for your position as a dental practitioner, but if you can’t relate to your patients, and help make their day better, then you won’t be able to take your practice to the next level. A positive relationship between practitioner and patient is crucial to the overall patient experience. By working together to deliver exceptional care and service, we are breaking stigmas and transforming the industry.

How do you work to ensure patients feel comfortable and cared for at the dentist’s office? Share in the comments below.

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