How To Have Happy Patients
Many patients no longer dread dental visits because most dental practices now focus on creating a “wow” patient experience. In the past, dentistry (at least from the patient’s perspective) was synonymous with strange smells and uncomfortable visits, causing many people to avoid the dentist entirely. But these days, we go out of our way to make sure patients are comfortable and feel confident in the dental chair. There are many things we can do to ensure a positive dental experience for our patients, but perhaps the most important one is to provide a healthy outlet where patients can learn about improving and maintaining their oral health.
Here are some easy ways you can make a major change in your patients’ visits so that they keep coming back and, of course, refer their family and friends.
1. Create a friendly environment.
Old-school dental offices are a thing of the past, so if your practice feels like the office you went to when you were a child, it’s time to give it a facelift. Dental practices need to be clean, updated, and airy so families view it as a sort of medical spa and not as a place of pain or discomfort.
If you see children and teens, it is just as important to maintain a kid-friendly atmosphere with games, televisions or tablets, and areas for teens to plug in their smart devices. Some practices even offer headphones during treatment for a calming effect and weighted blankets for children with special needs.
Ironically, designing an office that is the opposite of a traditional dental practice is how to have happy patients because it is all about distraction for nervous young kids and adolescents. Adults will also appreciate an environment that is modern and uses the newest technology. It shows them you care about your patients.
Offer your patients fun prizes and even dental-friendly reminders like timers, stickers, or small toys to motivate them to brush and floss and stay cavity-free. Some offices offer incentives like a “Cavity-Free Club” if patients get good “report cards” at their recall visits. Patients are happier when they get rewarded for good oral health, and it keeps them looking forward to their next appointments.
2. Deliver positive but constructive educational advice.
Sure, you repair cavities and identify dental problems, but you’re also there to educate patients. It’ll make them happy when you can show how they are making progress or when you give them positive assessments of their oral health. If they need some improvement, do it in a positive way so it keeps them motivated and not discouraged.
Patients, both younger and older, appreciate when their hygienist and dentist do not embarrass them about their oral health. Giving gentle reminders and providing a place of comfort is more important than reprimanding a patient about some plaque. Instead, direct patients to use new dental products like an electric toothbrush and water flosser, recommend more frequent visits if necessary, and let them know you’re always there for them when they have a question about maintaining good home care.
3. Exhibit professionalism.
What else can you do to ensure your patients are happy at each dental visit? Always convey professionalism from the moment patients call your office to schedule an appointment to when they leave their visit. There are so many small things you can do to make your patients content in your office, such as having a friendly, communicative team and offering complimentary oral hygiene products for recall visits.
4. Offer additional treatments.
One of the best things you can do is offer your patients specialized dental services like dental implants and orthodontics. These high-end treatments offer cosmetic solutions but also help restore dental health to its optimal state. When you take orthodontic CE courses specially created for general and pediatric dentists, you’ll learn all about how to diagnose, take records, and form treatment plans for nearly 80% of all Class I and II malocclusions. The American Orthodontic Society (AOS) is committed to helping dentists get a foundation in orthodontics so they can help patients who may otherwise go undiagnosed and suffer from dental problems unnecessarily.
Aside from you taking CE courses, it is important to educate your team on new dental services like orthodontics. You can’t go wrong in offering continuing education for your team because when they grow, your practice grows as well. Patients spend the majority of their appointment times with assistants and hygienists, so when they are knowledgeable on all things orthodontics and can assist with these newer treatments, it makes your practice run more efficiently, which always makes patients happy.
Offering new services is not only beneficial for patients’ long-term oral health and well-being, but it is also a major convenience factor for busy families. Patients tend to feel more comfortable receiving treatment from a familiar office versus being referred out for specialized treatment. Patients are happier when they don’t have to go through the hassle of dealing with new insurance issues or getting to know an unfamiliar team.
Patient satisfaction is a key part of growing your practice.
Being kind and creating a positive atmosphere are simple ways to make your dental patients happy, but if you want to go a step above, make sure your office is up to date and you are offering specialized services that can transform your patients’ lives both cosmetically and functionally. When you take an advanced orthodontic CE course, you’ll be positively contributing to your patients general well-being, and they’ll be happy to refer to your practice over and over again. Sign up for one of our upcoming courses here to get started today!
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.