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A dentist from the common man’s point of view is, “A doctor who has specialized in oral healthcare. Or a person who has qualified to treat diseases pertaining to teeth and gums, replacement and repair or any kind of oral health-related issues where it’s beyond the limit of a common man to solve the problem.” But it also comes along with many other characterizations.

What exactly are the expectations of patients when they think of consulting a dentist?

  • Diagnosing dental ailments and conditions
  • Promoting oral hygiene and preventing dental diseases
  • Taking X rays and understanding them correctly
  • Safe administration of medicines
  • Proper anaesthetisation before any dental procedures
  • Treating various causes that lead to tooth loss
  • Provide best solutions for missing or decayed teeth
  • A doctor who upgrades and keeps abreast of the latest technology
  • Give patients confidence of a good smile and chewing efficiency

There is always a discrepancy between dentists’ thinking towards their profession and patients’ expectation from their dentist. Empathy and patience are the key to building a successful clientele and practice. Moreover, improvising on practice management can help dentists gain good patient leverage. Most of the time dentists focus on improving their skills to administer a certain treatment or to improve revenue per month.

Somethings dentists could focus to improve patient flow and win loyal public attention.

Good eye contact with your patients help them to build trust in you. Listening carefully and using correct body language and ease in delivering treatments. Showing empathy towards the patient during their dental check-up.

Explanation of X-rays and treatmentto the patients in simple lay man’s language to avoid any kind of confusion, misunderstanding and fear.

Value patients’ time and scheduling appointments in accordance to patient’s availability. Using special software or digital calendars to recall patients’ name helps a lot.

Issuing a complete treatment regime in a written format for every patient as a reminder of pending treatment. Give them have a registered op card and keep one for their record. Enter all findings so they can come back every three months to check on their dental problems which are yet to be treated.

Recall and remind patients in the form of an SMS or email and even better a direct phone to save time.

Have trained staff to record new patient calls and track good service at the reception when you’re not around to answer patient queries. Dentist can even sponsor a training program for the in-house staff.

Birthday perks go a long way to win patients’ loyalty in some practices. Like a free birthday dental check-up, complimentary family check-up, etc.

Patients are impressed and comforted with dentists using technology like intraoral camera, iopars, RVGs, Ortho pantamographs.

Easy payment methods and basic insurance tie-ups with the most commonly used insurance by patients, helps clientele get treatments done as soon as they want and without any payment hassles. Insurance companies are more than willing to have tie-ups with private practices to gain more customers; for instance, Bajaj Fiserv, Capital Float, etc.

References:

The practice management: Peter F Drucker

Emotional Intelligence, why it can matter more than IQ: Daniel Goleman

Put your best foot forward by Mark Mazzarella

Digital marketing for dummies

Front office management and operations by Sudhir Andrews

The selection of essential drugs.Report of a WHO expert committee.Geneva world health organization; 1977

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DISCLAIMER : “Views expressed above are the author’s own.”

Dr. Iman Hanif
Dr Iman Hanif is a dental surgeon/ author and business strategist, practicing in Bangalore since 10 years.

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