A Dentist's Experience as a Patient: Helping Your Patients Feel Seen and HeardJan 10, 2024
Alleviating fear to forge connection on a patient’s first visit to the dental office is crucial for establishing trust. Patients often arrive filled with apprehension. They're scared about the unknowns: the cost, the competence of the provider, the time it will take, all against a backdrop of previous negative experiences. Stephen Covey, in his influential book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," emphasizes the importance of understanding before being understood. This principle, echoed in religious teachings, is especially vital in the dental office, a scary place for most patients.
Active listening and empathy are essential. We must engage patients, making eye contact, as internationally well known periodontist, Dr Bob Levine suggests, to build a bond of trust. Informing patients about treatment options, costs, duration, and other critical details enables them to make informed decisions, aligning with Linda Miles' philosophy of 'inform before you perform'. This simple phrase carries profound wisdom.
Clear, compassionate communication, supplemented with written summaries, helps alleviate anxieties and fosters a sense of safety and care. Ensuring patients are fully informed about their treatment plan is key to making them feel educated, safe, and nurtured.
Ultimately, patients seek a dental office where they feel understood and cared for. Our responsibility is to provide an environment where they receive the care they deserve. By being a source of knowledge and reassurance, we transform the dental visit into a positive, empowering experience. In the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi, understanding before being understood is not just a principle; it's the essence of effective dental care and practice management. Remember be the Gift.