Every patient is different. Overcoming a patient’s obstacles to treatment may take some finesse. The diagnosis and treatment plan are typically the easier task. In this series, we have asked the experts from our Protocol Directory, to share their insight.
When we asked Kary Helmer from Growth Mindset Dental Consultants to respond to “I hate the dentist,” here is her approach.
We are all accustomed to hearing the dreadful words “I hate being here, or I hate coming to the dentist” in daily practice. Instead of accepting this criticism of the profession we are passionate about, I welcome these words from patients, because, for me, it’s a challenge. I am always up for the challenge of turning a patient’s experience at the dental practice into the most empowering, pleasant experience they will ever have with a healthcare professional.
The key is listening and providing superior service for your patients. Take the time to listen to their concerns. Why is this their least favorite place? What has happened at their previous appointments? Has anyone ever educated them with knowledge about how they can not only improve their oral but their overall health? Listen to each concern and meet each one with a positive experience and resolution. Do they hate the noise? Offer them air pods. Have their cleanings been painful in the past? Get to the root cause of why that is and address it.
Do they have gingival recession? Use ozone gas or desensitizing paste to desensitize the area prior to a cleaning. Is it due to them having gingivitis or perio? Empower them to know why this is concerning for their overall health and work with them on not only how they can improve, but why they would want to improve and the positive outcome it can have for their health. Let them know this is not a life sentence and they have the power to turn their visits into more positive ones with positive changes at home.
Be a resource of knowledge for your patients and embolden them to take ownership of their concerns. Let them know that when their health improves, so does their experience. Following patients in their own self-discovery and watching their overall health improve is one of the most rewarding experiences we can have in our line of work. When they understand that they can make easy changes to improve, and that you are here to make their visits an elite experience, they will no longer “hate to come to the dentist.”