7 Ways To Improve Dentist Patient Communication
1.Don’t do all the talking — Ask your patients how they are, if they’re having any problems and listen carefully to what they say.
2. Begin with an outline — Start your discussion with the big picture and work your way into more detail, asking your patient if they have any questions along the way.
3. Appeal to the patient’s values and priorities — If your patient mentions a preference for treatment, such as a long-term solution or a quicker, lower-cost solution, mention that in your discussion. For example, you might say, “You mentioned you preferred a long-term solution. That’s why I’m recommending a gold crown. It’s more durable than the other choices.” While reflecting their preference, do not ignore explaining other options. Dentists should disclose all options available to a patient in order to allow the patient to make an informed decision regarding treatment.
4. Don’t refer to teeth by number — Referring to teeth by number is a big no-no in dentist-patient etiquette. Call teeth by their names and reference their location: “The very back molar on your right side.”
5. Don’t tell patients what you would “like” to do — Be direct when explaining your treatment plan. “The ideal treatment is … “ or “The treatment I would recommend for my own family … “ is much better than saying, “What I’d like to do …”
6. Use patient examples — Personalize your recommendation by referring to other patients who’ve had similar treatments. Do be mindful not to disclose identifying information when using their case as an illustration.
7. Mention the benefits — Describe the positive aspects of your suggested treatment plan: “By taking care of your gums, you’ll have a good chance at saving those two back teeth.”