Dental care is one of the most personalized health cares! Every patient is different than the other and needs different and personalized dental care. But busy personal lives coupled with dental anxiety keep most people away from dental visits. Even though it is repeated over and again that prevention is better than cure, most folks consider visiting the Dentist only if they have pain.
A dental consultation is the art and science of thorough examination of the oral cavity, accurate diagnosis, and appropriate treatment planning and effectively delivering it to the patient. Dental consultation is one of the most vital dental appointments yet very underestimated both by the Dentists and the patients. A dental consultation can either make or break the patient’s morale towards his or her dental treatment. The Dentist should consider the following points for a better dental consultation.
One of the major mistakes which most practicing Dentist’s do is that they focus more on the treatment of the disease. No doubt it is correct and that is what we are taught in dental colleges too. But in a clinical setup, an equal weightage has to be given to the patient as well. Most of the time while treating the tooth, we tend to forget that we are treating the person and not merely the tooth per se.
During the dental consultation, while presenting with the treatment plan to the patient it is important to note down patient’s approach towards his or her treatment. It simply means whether the patient is accepting the treatment plan, willingness towards getting the treatment done, any doubts regarding the treatment plan, is the patient convinced of the treatment charges so on and so forth. This is called a ‘patient-centric approach.
If the patient has any queries regarding the entire procedure, it can be quenched by the Dentist outright during the consultation appointment only. Since, there is ample time during the consultation, there is enough scope for equal give and take from the Dentist and patient-related to the treatment. This saves a lot of time during further appointments which can be utilized solely for the treatment.
Role of voice modulation in dental consultation
Voice modulation is one of the most overlooked factors in dental consultations. A positive voice modulation can have a very deep impact on the patient’s mind. Often times most of the Dentists stress more on what they are talking and ignore the way they are speaking during a dental consultation.
What is a pitch?
Pitch is the highness or lowness of the voice. The pitch of the Dentist has to be ‘medium’ and ‘constant’ throughout the conversation. A medium pitch exhibits assertiveness as well as authority and has a positive impact on patients. Hence, a Dentist should practice speaking in a medium pitch throughout the dental consultation for better results
Why do you need to pause in between?
In between pauses taken by a Dentist during the conversation gives sufficient time to the patient to think and speak. A Dentist can deliberately include pause during a conversation whenever he or she wants the patient to think. Accordingly, the conversation flows and the patient gets enough time to think as well.
Emphasize on these words
The emphasis should always be on the positive outcome of any treatment. It is the responsibility of the Dentist to inform the pros and cons of a treatment but never linger on the negative aspect or possible complications of any treatment. Emphasis should be on getting the treatment done and positive after-effects of treatment completion whenever possible. This instills an optimistic feeling towards dentistry in patients.
Strategic communication is very important!
The goal of effective communication should be to empower patients with knowledge about their treatment in simple language. The communication in a dental consultation should be precise, clear, simple and to the point. The ultimate outcome of the communication process should be two way i.e the sender should deliver the message clearly and the receiver should accept it completely.
That’s the secret of strategic communication! Effective communication should benefit both the patient and the Dentist. The benefits for patients are patient satisfaction and better compliance towards the treatment. Patient-centered communication results in a positive perception of the treatment plan by the patient.
The power of non-verbal communication
It is imperative for Dentists these days to reinforce non-verbal communication in the form of positive body language, confident posture, impressive appearance and eye contact. A modest sitting posture, slightly leaning forward yet not invading the personal space of patient makes the patient more comfortable and not intimidated by the Dentist.
Maintaining constant eye contact which is not staring demonstrates active engagement in the consultation. A genuine smile is the heart of the consultation. A warm and genuine smile demonstrates true sincerity and empathy towards the patient. Positive hand gestures and facial expressions should be in perfect synchronization which makes the consultation even more authoritative.
Allocate sufficient duration for the consultation
The duration of the entire consultation is very significant from patient conversion point of view. Allocating sufficient time for the first-time consultation helps to undergo a thorough examination of the oral cavity, frame a suitable treatment plan and bond with the patient well. For a patient who is visiting the clinic for the first time, a good half an hour makes a good impression about the Dentist and the overall experience.
Another important factor is that big cases like full mouth rehabilitation, implant cases should also be given enough time for better patient acceptance. The duration of the dental consultation can be framed such that the patient walks out of the consultation room completely satisfied and convinced about his oral health.
- The goal of dental consultation is to present a comprehensive guide to the patient regarding their dental problem and the required dental treatment.
- In the age of virtual dental consultations, in person dental consultations are of paramount importance for building a long-lasting Dentist-patient bond.
- Good verbal and non-verbal skills help to instill a positive vibe regarding dentistry in the potential patients.
- A patient-centric approach during the consultation results in better patient satisfaction and compliance.
- Communication of a Dentist should be clear, precise, impactful, confident with a medium pitch voice.
- The dental consultation should involve communication between both Dentist and the patient which results in better acceptance of the treatment plan by the patient.