We’ve all seen our share of patients who delay appointments because they fear the dentist’s office. I’ve found that the best way to remedy patient anxiety is through communication and helping them understand what we’re doing and why. Here are some tips that we use in our office:
- Set Expectations: Start the appointment by telling patients what procedures or treatment they will receive and how long it should take. This is a good opportunity to explain why specific work is important and how it impacts overall oral health. This up-front discussion lays out a clear path to the patient.
- Explain your Dental Tools: If you’re using a tool like a digital intraoral sensor, positioning system or intraoral camera, take the time to explain what it is and how you will use it. This is also a chance to highlight the benefits of technology. For example, a digital sensor requires lower radiation and produces faster results than film X-rays; the positioning system will hold the sensor in place so it’s more comfortable and will help get the right shot on the first try.
- Share the Exam Results: Involve your patients in the exam evaluation. If you have taken digital X-rays or intraoral images, show them the specific areas you’re looking at, as well as where potential problem areas may lie and how you see them. Once you’ve set it up, you can discuss treatment options and next steps. If there is no immediate follow-up appointment necessary, this is also an opportunity to highlight what they’re doing right and how you can see it.
Taking the time to involve patients can help you can build a better connection, reduce stress, and pave the way to understanding, acceptance and treatment. Today’s technology is making dentistry better, faster and more comfortable for an enhanced patient experience—it’s our job as professionals to help them understand it.Share with your colleagues