Establishing Healthy Patient Relationships

Dr Rick Mars with female patient - Developing Healthy Patient Relationships

Being a dentist is more than making sure that your patient’s mouth is healthy. It’s about being a partner in their overall wellbeing. Patients need to know that they can trust their dentist with their life. Let’s look at how you can build healthy patient relationships with those you serve. 

Be Punctual

Running late is just a fact of life sometimes, and as a dentist, you’re no exception. Some patients run longer and schedules get backed up. But in order to build trust with your patients, this cannot be a regular occurrence. 

Being chronically behind sends a message of disrespect to your customers. A patient will often plan their whole day around a medical appointment, so it’s important to see them as quickly as possible after they arrive. When scheduling appointments, be sure to leave room in your day for patients who might take a little longer than usual.

No Excuses

In the event that you are late, don’t give patients a laundry list of reasons why. No excuses. Simply apologize for the delay, and ask how you can resolve the issue. This philosophy can be applied to any mistake or misunderstanding that might occur. If you make an error, own up to it. Don’t make excuses. Straightforward honesty about any problem a patient comes to you with will always get you further than an excuse. (I have a whole blog on this subject if you want to learn more – No Excuses: Taking Ownership of Every Situation.)

Educate Every Patient

Dental treatments can be quite an investment depending on the procedure. It’s not very comforting for a patient to be told they need to spend top dollar on the health of their mouth without actually understanding the reason or how treatment would benefit them. 

Whether it’s a simple filling, a dental implant, or their daily dental hygiene routine, take the time to educate your patients. Giving patients the space to learn builds trust.  By understanding more about their oral health, patients can make informed decisions about treatment options and take better care of their teeth in the long run. 

Don’t Forget to Listen

I love the humanness of the dental industry. At the end of the day, dentists are simply people helping people. Remember this when treating your patients﹘ these are human beings with curiosities and concerns. Encourage patients to ask questions. If they don’t have any at the moment, make sure they know they can follow-up with you later. Listening is a huge part of any relationship, so why would doctor-patient relationships be any different?

The Big Secret

There’s no trick to building great patient relationships. The secret is in plain sight. To build trust with your patients and grow your practice, you have to provide top-notch care, treat people right, and have a clean, comfortable office.  

Return customers and word-of-mouth recommendations come from putting your best work forward every single day. When you go above and beyond for those you serve, they will keep coming back because they know that they can trust you with their health. 

For more information on building healthy patient relationships, check out my book, The Big Smile!