As people are craving human connection now more than ever, there is no better time to introduce some changes to address patient anxiety that may help them find that person-to-person comfort in a rather unlikely place - the dentist’s office.
With over 70% of the population reporting some form of dental anxiety, it seems there’s room for improvement in the overall dental experience. From banana peel whitening to coconut oil pulling, it seems some people are willing to try just about anything to avoid consulting with their dentist for best practices. While we're not against certain DIY methods, let's remind patients that there's no substitute for in-person care from a trusted dental professions. GLO would like to help by suggesting ways to reconnect with patients who may have put off appointments during the pandemic, or due to general fear of the dentist.
To address patient comfort, you need to provide the care needed while also offering individualized attention. Here are a few key strategies to consider when evaluating ways you can improve .
Continued and Comforting Communication
Easing patient anxiety starts before your patients step foot through the door. Although COVID may have taken a toll on face-to-face interaction, the upside is a greater overall acceptance of alternative methods to stay in touch. The rest of the patient experience is up to you! Keep in mind that the more prepared a patient feels in advance, the less anxious he or she will be in your chair. According to Dentistry.com, “The best way we can serve our patients is by communicating with them in a way that not only means they are informed about the services and treatments we provide, but which also offers them comfort in these challenging times.”
Consider utilizing some of these features to connect with and educate your patients (both in-person and virtually):
- Social media - With most of the population checking in on some form daily, this provides a way to stay present even when you can’t see them in person.
- Email blasts - Keep up with those reminders for check-ups, whitening treatments, and other services offered. Your patients will thank you in the long run if it saves them from a more invasive procedure- after all, professional whitening leads to better overall oral health.
- Blogs and newsletters - If people are wondering how to whiten teeth with braces or ways to remove yellow stains on teeth, try to address these questions before their appointment through emails and other forms of communication. Discussing common dental issues and procedures ahead of time allow for a more informed patient before an office visit.
- Contests and other incentives - Let’s be honest, everyone loves a giveaway. Consider raffling off a free GLO chairside whitening treatment or Take-home kit - there’s no better way to get people excited about a trip to the dentist!
Communications like this allow patients to learn about new teeth whitening services and products at their own pace, alleviating concerns they may have about both necessary and cosmetic treatments. GLO Science provides imagery, videos, and customizable templates directly on our website, making communication simple and effective. Our Success Starter Set offers a turn-key solution to help launch a complete GLO whitening program in your practice, which includes physical and digital marketing tools.
A Calming Office Environment
They’ve finally made it into your office - now what? Continue to focus on education and empathy in all of your appointments, and creating a pleasant environment to help lessen the added anxiety for already nervous patients who may have skipped yearly check-ups due to the pandemic, or other reasons.
A few strategies to address this:
- Video - Utilize audio and visual components to present a clearer understanding of procedures, thus reducing patient fear. Many practices find GLO’s videos helpful for this – we have many ready to download on our website and a patient ready playlist on our YouTube channel as well.
- Sound - Perhaps you have patients who tense up at the sound of a drill. Noise-canceling headphones work wonders to eliminate the stress associated with specific audio triggers during a check-up.
- Smell - Essential oils, anyone? We love this simple but super effective tactic, which helps evoke a zen environment that can work wonders to ease even the most timid patients.
- Follow-up - Whether this includes sending take-home information, a quick email, or a personal phone call, checking in after procedures builds trust and positive rapport for future visits.
- Gather feedback - You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken, so give patients an outlet to share their experience. It will only help create a stronger relationship and better business model in the long run.
When your office provides the best experience, more patients accept treatment and continue showing up for their scheduled appointments. It’s a win-win approach in the business of helping others improve their oral health - the main reason you entered this profession in the first place.