Our Patient’s First Visit…
What to Expect and How to Succeed?
Founder & Editor in Charge
Smile Dental Journal
The first appointment is surely the one that will decide and govern the way your patients look at you, and will also help you in deciding your treatment and time plan for each patient... There are no rules that you can always follow for everybody... Think about each patient as a unique case and set the rules accordingly.
Give 10 minutes at least for your patient to talk while you listen carefully. Listen to your patient’s words as well as his or her body language. The eyes might tell you a lot... the muscular contractions of the body while receiving the treatment are also a good indicative of his mental status... afraid, nervous, in pain, relaxed, happy, sweating, continuously moving the head, arms or feet... all these can help you understand what is going on in your patient’s mind.
Get involved -not too deeply- with your patient’s personal life... try to remember, or write down some notes about this if you have to for future appointments... your patient’s kids’ names, personal status, work and educational status are all good examples to make your relation with your patients a little bit more personal. People usually like this type of care and this will raise your rating a lot amongst them and they might even talk about it with their friends and relatives supporting the most important marketing strategy which is the word of mouth.
Remember always that we, as dentists, are looking for a long term relationship with our patients that might extend to generations ahead. Be gentle and caring as much as u can especially in that first appointment. Try to make this first encounter as impressive as possible, whether by building a good personal relationship, or by relieving your patient from one of his main complaints, pain, or esthetic concern, and try, if possible, to avoid any treatment modality that might cause pain or major discomfort at least during this first appointment.
Use educational presentations whether study models, instructional and educational videos, or at least draw some sketches that describe the problem and your way of dealing with it, and show the problem very clearly to your patient either by using intra-oral camera, photographs, x-rays, or simply a mirror.
Successful dentists should be good psychologists... read your patient’s personality quickly from the moment he is still in the reception area... with time you will be better with this and selling the service YOU choose for your patient will succeed almost always. Remember to consider your patient’s special needs and also consider his health, financial situation, awareness, expectations, and personality in your treatment decision and plan... and remember that sometimes you might be wrong... we are humans and being wrong is not impossible.