Written by Patrick Wahl, DMD, MBA, and Lorraine Hollett Saturday, 31 May 2003 19:00
As dentists, we think of ourselves as technicians, health professionals, scientists, artists…not salesmen. The good news is we don’t have to be salesmen. If the entire dental visit builds, stone upon stone, up to the case presentation, the patient can’t help but say yes to the treatment we know they need.
RAPPORT BETWEEN HYGIENIST AND PATIENT
In most cases, rapport develops naturally as the patient and hygienist spend time together. Even if she doesn’t consider herself a good conversationalist, the hygienist can easily develop conversational skills. It’s important to remember that developing a rapport with patients is more about being interested than being interesting.
The patient doesn’t miss much of what goes on around him in the dental office. What else is he going to do while he’s waiting in the chair? Respectful interactions between dentist and hygienist communicate to the patient that he’s in good hands. The patient sees that the dentist is thrilled with the staff he’s hired, and the staff feel privileged to work here. Must be a good place. Respectful language between these 2 professionals is the background against which the rest of the visit plays out.
Ownership of the Problem
Patients aren’t interested in the solution until they understand they have a problem. Don’t tell them to floss more—that’s a solution. They may not even be aware there’s a problem.
Confidence in the Dentist
Have you ever recommended your favorite restaurant to friends, only to find out that they considered it mediocre? You might have been surprised that you felt a little offended. You were offended not because they were commenting negatively on the restaurant, but because they were commenting negatively on your decision making.
Many times, a patient will listen in silence to the dentist’s recommendations. But that doesn’t mean he understands or is in agreement with the treatment plan. The hygienist can give him an opportunity to find out more by asking this all-important question after the dentist leaves the room: “How do you feel about all this? Do you have any questions or concerns?”
The hygienist is in a unique position within the practice to play a vital role in informing patients about their dental problems, building rapport, increasing the patients’ comfort level, supporting the dentist, and thereby increasing case acceptance.
Dr. Wahl and Ms. Hollett of Office Magic are sought-after speakers and the developers of the Colossal Case Acceptance system. Sign up for their free newsletter at officemagic.com.
- Clinical Update
- CE Articles
- Dental Materials
- Dental Medicine
- Digital Impression Technology
- Forensic Dentistry
- Geriatric Dentistry
- Infection Control
- Interdisciplinary Dentistry
- New Directions
- Practice Management
- Oral Cancer Screening
- Oral Medicine
- Oral-Systemic connection
- Pediatric Dentistry
- Pain Management
- Post-and-Core Technique
- Sleep Disorders
- Sports Dentistry
- Technique of the Week
- Treatment Planning