Going to the dentist can be an intimidating experience for many patients. A surprising amount of people report they suffer from dentophobia, or fear of dental treatment. Over a quarter of the U.S. population reports they have anxiety related to the dentist.
As a dental professional, it’s important to provide quality care to everyone, including those patients who are more than hesitant. This means it should be a major focus of your dental practice to make sure your patients feel comfortable and at ease during their visit.
If you’re interested in ways to make your patients feel calm and collected during a visit to your practice, check out these tips and tricks to create a more positive experience for your patients.
Create A Welcoming Atmosphere
The first step in improving patient experience is to create a welcoming atmosphere. This means your practice should be clean, well-lit, and decorated in a way that puts patients at ease. Choose a calming color palette and soothing décor. A space with an open layout and comfortable furniture can create more of a living room feel that eases patients’ nerves in the waiting room. Offer plenty of reading materials or entertainment options to keep patients occupied while they wait, so their focus is not on dread or anxiety of the treatment they’re anticipating.
One of the most important aspects of the patient’s experience is communication. Making sure you and your staff communicate clearly will offer patients peace of mind, as they have clear expectations of what is happening at each stage in their treatment. Explain the procedures and the options available, and answer any questions the patient may have. This can help alleviate fears or concerns and build rapport with your patients that will keep them coming back, which is not just important from a revenue standpoint, but for the patient’s oral health as well.
Many patients may not understand the importance of good dental hygiene or the procedures they are undergoing. Extra education may help patients understand what will happen at their appointment and feel more comfortable. You can provide resources such as brochures, videos, or even posters explaining the importance of dental hygiene or even specific procedures, so your patients are more at ease.
Train Your Staff
Your staff plays a key role in the patient experience. Make sure they are trained to provide excellent customer service, answer patient questions, and make them feel at ease. Holding regular training sessions to make sure everyone is up to date on the latest practices and techniques can help your staff be confident in performing procedures and addressing patient concerns.
Offer Flexible Scheduling
Many patients have busy schedules and finding time for dental appointments can be challenging. Consider offering flexible scheduling options such as early morning or late evening appointments, or even weekend hours. This can make it easier for patients to fit dental care into their schedules. Sending text, email, or phone call reminders for patients can also be helpful, so you aren’t expecting a patient who never shows up and your patient isn’t struggling to reschedule a forgotten appointment.
Technology can be another great tool to improve the patient experience when it comes to scheduling appointments. Research indicates that almost half of all dental patients prefer to schedule an appointment online. Enabling your practice’s website with the ability to manage their appointment can make the process of scheduling more convenient for patients and help reduce no-shows.
Listen to Feedback
Finally, one of the most important things you can do to improve patient experience is listen to feedback. Make sure you and your staff are open to receiving feedback from patients and taking action to address any concerns or suggestions. Pay attention to reviews left online and make time to respond to those, especially reviews that are negative or make a complaint. You can even offer feedback surveys to patients by sending a link to their phone number or email, so patients feel like they have been heard and that their feelings matter. Use this feedback to help improve your practice and make sure your patients are happy and satisfied with the care you provide.
Improving the patient experience in your dental practice is essential for building trust with your patients and ensuring they receive quality care. Your dental staff’s training is a large part of patient satisfaction with your practice. The SPS Dental Academy offers live, in-person training with experienced professionals to enhance the abilities of your staff and create your perfect office environment. Contact us today to request a consultation or enroll in a training course!