Follow these steps to set the tone for an excellent new patient experience.
• Create a comfortable, non-rushed environment when explaining treatment. Patients need to feel that they are important and worthy of your time.
• Explain the general steps of the procedure, but avoid getting into excruciating detail.
• Tell the patient how you will make her/him comfortable during treatment and what options are available, such as anesthetic, sedation, etc.
• Choose language that fits the patient’s educational level of understanding and speak slowly.
• Use educational tools, like video or other visual aids. Summarize what the patient has viewed and ask if there are any areas that need further explanation.
• Explain alternatives to the treatment. Make sure the benefits and the possible risks are understood. Informed consent in writing is necessary when there are risks and when the outcome could be less than favorable.
• Ask questions to determine if the patient has any false ideas about treatment.
• Be empathetic to the patients’ concerns about the condition of their teeth. Patients who have postponed dental care are often embarrassed.
• Look the patient in the eye when discussing treatment. Sit at the same level as the patient and lean slightly forward to show interest and care. You will be able to observe the patient’s response more readily.
Handled correctly, new patient visits should be one of the highlights of your day.