Patients pick up on subtle things in dental offices. Almost everybody has some level of anxiety when going into a dental practice. My father used to say “When our anxiety level is up a little bit, our antennae come out.” We pick up things we wouldn’t normally pick up. We notice things we wouldn’t normally notice. We’re irritated by things that wouldn’t normally irritate us. Our trust is affected by things that normally wouldn’t affect our level of trust.
How can we possibly meet the expectations of hyper-sensitive patients like this?
First, we have to keep in mind, in the day-to-day flow of patients, it may be routine for us but it isn’t routine for our patients. It’s not an ordinary activity. It is an extraordinary activity. It’s easy for us to get disconnected from that.
Second, we need to consider the stories our new patients bring about previous providers who may have hurt and traumatized them. We should strive to make every procedure as painless as possible by using every technique and approach available.
Finally, even if you’re already providing painless dentistry, your patients may not know that. So it’s important to promote this concept at every opportunity you can.
If you are able to keep these ideas in mind when working with anxious patients, there is an unexpected benefit. These patients are particularly grateful when they’re treated wonderfully, especially, when that’s not their expectation.