Building the foundations of trust

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  Posted by: Dental Design      11th March 2021

There’s a saying that everyone wants to be trusted but only few people are willing to put in the work to show themselves trustworthy. It can be argued that dental professionals face an especially arduous challenge in fostering trust among patients, many of which are afraid or anxious of the dentist. Who can blame them if they have only ever had negative experiences with dentistry? Yet those dental teams who dedicate their time, energy and resources into building patients’ trust can reap great rewards in terms of ensuring the long-term success of their practice. There are some key factors to consider when it comes to nurturing patients’ trust. 

Give them your time

The current pressures of modern dentistry can often place restrictions on your day-to-day schedule, but it is important that you dedicate time to patient interaction. Allocating a few extra minutes to an appointment just to talk to patients about topics beyond dentistry can provide you with a great deal of insight into their lifestyle and how this may influence their general and oral health. This interaction not only supports more accurate diagnostics, but also enables you to develop a good rapport with the patient and demonstrate that you care about them. Consequently, they are more likely to put their trust in you.

Know their demands and expectations

An essential part of creating a strong, trusting relationship with patients is meeting (or indeed exceeding) their demands and expectations, which you cannot do unless you know what they are. It is vital to avoid assuming that all patients demand and expect the same – after all, each patient is unique and will, therefore, have differing and varying priorities regarding their oral health. As such, you should encourage open and candid conversations with patients about their smile aspirations and how they hope treatment can help them achieve these goals. In turn, you will be able to better manage their expectations and, ideally, deliver on their wishes.

Maintain honesty and consistency

Being honest demonstrates your professional integrity and commitment to providing patients with the best possible care. Once you understand what patients want and expect from you, it is crucial that you are honest with them about the reality of their particular circumstances and what can be achieved with their smile through dental treatment. You should also maintain consistency throughout your communications in order to ensure that patients associate you with being reliable and, therefore, trustworthy, which will encourage them to return to your practice time and time again for treatment.

Get them involved

Dental professionals can take advantage of the latest intraoral scanners, CAD/CAM systems and smile simulation software to get patients more involved with the treatment planning process. This can facilitate better-informed decision-making on the patient’s part, increasing the likelihood of the patient accepting proposed treatment and complying with your recommendations. Providing patients with an insight into treatment can also help to eliminate any fear or anxiety of the unknown, whilst ensuring further peace-of-mind that you have the skills, experience and tools at your disposable to deliver optimal results in the safest, most effective way.

Follow through

Once the patient consents to proposed treatment, it is important that you do what you say you will do. How closely your actions parallel your word can make or break your chances of gaining a patient’s trust in your services and, in turn, winning you those all-important word-of-mouth referrals. Nothing can compromise your credibility faster than failing to follow through on your promises. Even if complications were to arise later down the line that meant you could not meet your patient’s demands, the patient is more likely to be understanding so long as you have been transparent about the risks and limitations of treatment before consent was provided to proceed.

Recommend clinically proven solutions

The chances of a patient seeking out your services in the future will be much higher if they are confident that your recommendations are sound. One of the simplest ways you can promote patient trust in your advice and guidance is to recommend the use of oral healthcare solutions that are clinically proven to deliver effective, long-term results. ‘Perio plus’ products, for example, are backed by over two decades of innovative research and development by leading oral healthcare specialist, Curaprox. These solutions offer the benefits of natural ingredients in a unique formula that is optimised to protect the teeth, gums and oral mucosa from plaque.

Trust is the foundation and linchpin for long-lasting, productive relationships between patients and dental professionals. Developing and maintaining a patient’s trust can be incredibly valuable with regard to facilitating more positive patient interactions, ensuring greater satisfaction with treatment provided and promoting maximum compliance. This can go a long way to helping you grow your patient base and, indeed, your business. Although it does require a conscious effort and a certain degree of skill to foster trust among patients, remember that anything worth having must always be earned.


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