By Tammy Staiger, RDH BS
In my twenty-five plus years the industry, I’ve had thousands of conversations with patients about their teeth and oral care concerns. These discussions have given me thorough insight into today’s dental consumers and how we, as dental professionals and team members, can craft the best user experience for our patients. Crafting great patient experiences is crucial to dental practice success. This perspective helps frame the curriculum I create at orthobrain® for dentists and their teams. Our education program is highly focused on topics like: powerful communication and how to identify and educate patients on the effects of malocclusion.
When patients feel listened to and understood, a level of trust is created. This relationship is crucial if you want your patients to take your advice, follow directions or accept treatment.
Based on my curriculum development experience and my conversations with patients in the hygiene chair, here are the top three patient considerations when presented with orthodontic treatment solutions.
1. Their time is valuable.
Patients want a one-stop shop for all dental appointments, whether it is routine cleanings, restorative care, or orthodontic treatment. It takes time to research and schedule consults with new practitioners to fix an overbite or whiten teeth. Instead of spending their lunch break driving from office to office to find a doctor they trust, some patients would prefer to simply not smile in pictures. General dentists have the perfect opportunity to meet patients’ needs for quality care and convenience by offering comprehensive dentistry to treat preventive, restorative, and orthodontic concerns.
2. Drawbacks can’t outweigh rewards.
Patients want beautiful teeth, but they don’t want the solution to affect their daily lives. While they don’t want gaps in their teeth, they also don’t want orthodontics to interfere with how they talk, look, or are perceived by others. Most patients don’t know much about invisible orthodontic solutions, so they don’t think to ask practitioners about lingual braces or clear aligners. Educating patients is an important part of the standard of care. As a dental healthcare provider, you will often be the first line of defense and education for malocclusion. Being able to educate the patient in the chair and then offer an in-house solution, like clear aligner therapy, meets the patient’s desire for discreet treatment and convenience.
3. There’s comfort with familiarity.
I find that patients are more likely to undergo treatment when it is provided by their own dentist. When patients are lying in a dental chair with instruments in their mouth, they feel vulnerable. According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, some studies suggest that as many as 75% of adults in the United States experience some amount of anxiety about going to a dental office. Patients would rather put off necessary dental treatment than go to an orthodontist they have never met. Many tell me they’d be more likely to undergo orthodontic treatment if they could do it with their own practitioner.
Listen, Build Trust, Transform Lives
By listening to patients and understanding these common considerations, you can establish a stronger bond and level of trust. This gives you the opportunity to provide the comprehensive care they want and need. When patients get the ortho care they need from a dentist they already trust, it benefits their health, their relationships, and their self-image. It also contributes to the success of your practice through referrals and increased profitability.
Effectively communicating the advantages of orthodontic services to patients is invaluable! At orthobrain®, we empower dentists to successfully and profitably incorporate orthodontics into their practices. We focus on effective education and communication techniques and offer comprehensive case management by an Orthodontist. We know that dentists and their team members are the key to expanding access to happy and healthy smiles to more patients. We’re here to support them in this endeavor.
About Tammy Staiger, RDH BS
As Senior Education Developer at orthobrain® and as a dental hygienist, one of my clinical roles is to educate patients on the effects proper tooth alignment has on good oral health. I am blessed to travel internationally and speak publicly not only about tooth alignment, but also on team building and the importance of communication for multiple companies, including Align Technology‘s Invisalign®. I believe when you bring compassion and connection to patients, they are more likely to listen to what you tell them.
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