It seems that no matter where you look, be it Los Angeles or Calgary, dental clinics are inspiring discomfort and fear in their patients. This isn’t a new thing, either. The knowledge of impending dental work has brought anxiety to people for generations.
Fortunately, things don’t have to work this way. There are many ways dental clinics can counter the stereotypes and improve the patients’ experiences. Here are just a few things that dentists are doing to help ease tensions and increase comfort and satisfaction for their patients.
- Educating Patients
In dentistry, prevention of illness is the highest goal. Prevention is much easier and more cost-effective than treatment after the fact, and when it comes to prevention, education is key. It is important to empower patients to take their health into their own hands. Dental clinics should teach their patients how to floss and brush effectively, the types of foods that lead to cavities, and any increased level of risk to illness that they have due to hereditary, cultural, or other factors.
Incorporating effective education into a dental practice can also ease tension on its own. Many people fear the unknown. Helping them understand their teeth and dental hygiene practices reveals the wizard behind the curtain, reducing anxiety. Talking about an upcoming procedure is a great way to build rapport with a patient. The old adage, “treat the patient, not the sickness” works wonderfully here. If your patients are anxious, spending the extra time to explain things can be all it takes to calm them down.
- Changing the Atmosphere
The often cold and sterile environment of a hospital or clinic does little to improve the morale of patients. The strong odor of disinfectants and the general plastic plants scattered throughout the office are poor efforts at cultivating a welcoming and comforting environment.
The clinics that have the best atmospheres tend to be the ones that focus on the details. The owners of these clinics have prioritized creating a unique and comfortable atmosphere in which to treat patients. It’s not just the smell or decor that make up the atmosphere of a clinic, though. The way in which the staff talk to patients, the sizes of the waiting area and the offices, the equipment that the office has, the wait times, and the appearance of the staff are all factors.
- Accepting Feedback
Providing a venue for patients to give feedback is another way in which dental clinics are able to help their patients feel more comfortable. Feedback is a great tool. When used correctly, it can provide insight into the way patients experience a clinic. It not only allows patients to feel empowered to make changes, but it also helps staff identify weak points and improve their overall service.
There are lots of dental clinics that specialize in just a few services, in order to provide more specific and quality care. Take pediatric dental clinics for example. Pediatric dentists specialize in providing dental services to children and adolescents. Although qualified to provide services to adults, many of these clinics only accept child patients.
By narrowing the types of patients that it treats, or the field it works in, a clinic has an easier time catering to the specific needs of its patients.
There are lots of things that dental clinics are doing to make their patients feel better. By providing a comfortable atmosphere, friendly staff, and a venue for feedback, dental clinics everywhere are changing the ways their patients experience their services.