Improving Parent-Dentist Relationships
When providing treatment in pediatric dentistry, communicating with the parents can be just as important as communicating with the patients themselves.
Proper pediatric dental care calls for parent involvement, but doing so isn’t always easy. Follow these tips to improve the parent-dentist relationships at your practice.
1. Establish a comfortable, welcoming environment.
Providing a child-friendly atmosphere can help alleviate dental anxiety and make children easier to manage for parents. The goal is to ensure that both your patients and their parents feel comfortable from the moment they walk through your door.
Having a kid-friendly waiting area with toys, books, and games can make the experience smoother for everyone involved.
2. Practice active listening.
Input from parents is highly valuable when it comes to diagnosis and treatment planning. Make sure you listen carefully to any concerns parents may have and answer their questions fully. Demonstrating empathy and understanding when interacting with pediatric patients and their parents helps improve both the patient experience and oral health outcomes.
3. Communicate clearly and effectively.
Communicating well is just as important as listening well. Keep in mind that most parents aren’t dentists, so they may benefit from detailed explanations of things that seem straightforward to trained dental professionals.
Avoid confusing dental jargon whenever possible, and consider implementing visual aids and demonstrations for common conditions and procedures for the sake of transparency and clarity.
4. Foster open and honest communication.
The information you receive from parents about their children is essential to providing quality dental care. Consequently, you want to create an atmosphere where parents feel free to speak openly with you about their children and their dental health.
Encourage parents to share anything that comes to mind, and make sure you fully address any questions they have in a clear and transparent manner to build trust.
5. Provide education and oral health resources.
Giving parents clear advice on oral hygiene, diet, and other areas can help them build a strong foundation for their children’s oral health. Having educational materials like brochures for parents to review at their leisure is also an effective way to provide essential guidance.
6. Involve parents in treatment decisions.
Developing personalized treatment plans for pediatric patients requires working closely with their parents. Make it a point to involve them in all treatment decisions, collaborating to ensure that the patient’s best interests are met.
This requires detailing the pros and cons of potential options in terms that parents can easily understand and making sure no misconceptions are skewing their judgment.
7. Address parental anxieties and concerns.
It’s natural for parents to have concerns about their children’s health and treatment. You can help them through the process by addressing those anxieties.
Let them know what measures you have in place to guarantee their child’s comfort and safety. Also, keep up with your continuing education to ensure that you can speak confidently and authoritatively on complex topics, such as pediatric oral health and orthodontics.
8. Build trust and rapport.
In order to provide quality care, both your pediatric patients and their parents must trust you. Building that trust is something you must approach deliberately—maintain professionalism and respect in all interactions, follow through on your commitments, and always strive to provide the best dental care possible.
9. Offer clear instructions and follow-up communication.
Post-treatment instructions are essential when interacting with any patient, but they are even more important with pediatric patients. The responsibility for carrying out and enforcing post-treatment instructions falls on the parents. As such, you must ensure that they fully understand the requirements and their importance.
Following up regularly after appointments will also allow you to check on your patients’ progress and address any concerns that may arise after a visit.
10. Personalize the patient experience.
A personal touch can make for a more meaningful experience for both child patients and their parents.
For example, calling children by their names during visits can go a long way toward earning their trust and making sure they see you as a friend. Similarly, celebrating milestones, such as a cavity-free check-up or swift orthodontic progress, can turn dreaded dental visits into something to look forward to.
Providing the Best Pediatric Dentistry Care With Expanded Treatment Options
Parents and dentists need to work together to ensure the best results for pediatric dental patients. However, you should also take a close look at the treatments you offer. Providing comprehensive care under one roof is among the most sought-after criteria for families choosing a dentist, and it can make dental care for kids that much easier. You can expand your treatment options with continuing education from the American Orthodontic Society. We offer a wide range of courses designed to augment your knowledge and skills, which carries benefits regardless of whether you choose to offer orthodontic treatment. Browse our upcoming courses to learn more.
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.