Some of the things that I see from our patients, some of their concerns, are based on historical experiences that they’ve had in dentistry in the past. I think that dentistry, as in many areas of medicine, was almost dictatorial. The doctor would come in, take a look at a chart, look at an X-ray maybe, and then say, “You need X”, “You need this done”.
Nowadays, I think modern dentistry, not only should it be, but it is more conversational. It’s really about trying to appreciate the values that the patient has about what they’re trying to achieve and what are their goals and working in that direction. That brings down a lot of the fear and anxiety. One of the things that I found is building that connection, making sure that the patient understands that the dentist is thinking about them in terms of the whole them, and not just a dental treatment.
Maybe in some ways, it’s also on you, the patient, to change your mentality a little bit when something like this is offered to you. Understand that this may not be the same type of dental experience as you’ve had in the past. Be open to working with your dentist more like a partner in a partnership and not like a one-sided treatment.
Now it’s more of a service and to provide that service for the patient. We have to recognize that many patients have dental fears. How do we quell this fear and really make it a productive relationship? I think, again, we go back to trust. Do you trust me to think about you and care about you like I would members of my family or like I would my sister or my brother?
I try to take a step back when I’m having these conversations with patients who have fear and anxiety and make sure that they know that I can appreciate, that I can understand that it’s not just a technical thing or a clinical thing. For me, this is the whole person that we’re treating, and that seems to work really well.
For nearly 20 years, as I’ve been doing this, that’s what has been, I think, the major driver for the growth of Concierge Dental Group. Building these relationships with people so that they appreciate, and they know, that we’re going to respect their fears, we’re going to honor their fears, and we’re also going to quell their fears.