Dentistry is different from many other services and it’s important to be able to understand patients from their perspective. Dental anxiety is a common problem. When clients are anxious, it is difficult enough to get them through the door of a dental office, let alone get them to make the right decisions.
Searching for a provider
These days patients search online and ‘shop around’ for providers who they feel will meet their needs. They will search directory listings, social media and individual practice websites as well as read reviews before deciding which practice to visit.
Those who are tentative about going to the dentist are more likely to call a dental office that reassures them that they constantly work with patients who experience dental fear and anxiety.
Every interaction counts
Once a patient has made a decision to come to your practice, many factors can sway further decisions - from promotions and discounts to being influenced by personnel. A patient may have decided a practice is the one to sign up with but the bad attitude of a receptionist may bring about a change of mind.
From the very first interaction when anxious patients call to set up an appointment, they need to be reassured. Once they arrive at the practice, they should be greeted with a smile to help them relax.
Comfortable furniture, soft music, and keeping dental smells, sights and sounds to a minimum in the waiting area helps improve their state of mind before an appointment even begins.
Communication dispels anxiety
Fear of the unknown is very real when it comes to dental work. A calm but comprehensive explanation by the dentist of what is about to take place can go a long way towards alleviating any fears.
Patients need to be told what they can expect in simple language and without scary words like “drill” or “shot.” Explain that if injections are a fear, dental sedation is an option in certain situations.
Many patients are afraid of being helplessly stuck in the chair while the dentist works on their mouth. An explanation that they are able to stop the process at any time by raising a hand can alleviate this anxiety. Patients have the comfort of knowing that they still have some control over the situation.
Information helps your patients to make decisions
Patients need information to help them move their way through the decision-making process. It is often a mother who conducts the research and books the dental appointments and treatments for her family.
She needs to receive the information she needs in a way she can understand. It’s important to focus on the benefits of a procedure rather than trying to be too technical.
Patients will look at all the options available and make decisions based on their own ‘criteria.’ Patients suffering from toothache are likely to choose a practice that is prepared to handle emergencies and can see them as soon as possible.
People considering teeth aligners in Los Angeles may be concerned with how much confidence they can place in a particular orthodontist and whether other clients’ teeth have been straightened successfully.
Establish trust and loyalty
The key is to establish trust and loyalty. When patients feel they can trust you, they feel confident to make their own decisions. If you push them and try a ‘hard sell,’ they tend to back off. It may be that patients need more time to come to a decision. If this is the case, it is important to have a good follow-up procedure in place.