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How To Better Interpret Common Patient Questions

Dentist and patient choosing treatment in a consultation with medical equipment in the background

Answering questions is a huge part of patient education. You already know that as you have answered thousands of questions from your patients. But have you ever thought about what brought those questions about? What could be the reasons behind those questions? Sometimes the simple questions we get asked are masking more complex ones. As the dentist, you should be able to interpret your patients’ questions properly so you can provide them with the solution that would truly be beneficial for them.

With the right communication techniques and listening strategies, you should be able to give the answers that they really need to hear.

Let’s talk about some of the most common questions that patients ask and what patients actually mean when they ask them.

Will It Hurt?

This is the first question that patients ask when they are told about the treatment or procedure that they’ll get. Aside from wanting to know whether or not they’ll feel any pain, they also want reassurance that you will do everything you can to make them comfortable and relaxed and that they are in good hands. Therefore you should practice empathy to foster trust and encourage your patients to choose you and your practice when they are in need of dental care.

Should I Be Put Under?

When your patient is asking you this question, he or she wants your help in making a difficult decision. It is important that you are able to explain what the patient’s options are. Remember that some of your patients have high pain tolerance while others have really low tolerance. Find out about your patient’s threshold for pain and make suggestions accordingly.

How Will It Look After?

Most of the time patients are more worried about the result than the actual procedure. Who doesn’t want to know that they’ll be able to keep their smile or even improve it? Take your time in explaining everything your patient needs to know about the restoration he or she will get. One great way to answer this question though is to actually show your patient a picture! With Dental Laboratory Associates’ Smile Simulation, your patient can see the before and after photo to see how the smile enhancement would look like even before you start the procedure!

How Much is It Going to Cost?

Aside from the actual number, your patient wants to know that the procedure is really worth his or her money. Instead of just sending your patient to the front desk so your staff can provide the information, answer the question with honesty and empathy. When you discuss the treatment, focus more on the patient’s oral health and make sure he or she understands the importance of getting the treatment. If possible, present options and walk them over to the office manager or staff member who can provide more information.

It is true that time is money and when you have several appointments in a day, you do want to be more time-efficient so you can do everything you need to do. But do not forget that it is even more important to establish a good relationship with your patients and you can achieve that when you communicate with them properly. Learn to interpret their questions and always empathize with them. That is the best way to get them to be confident about the dental procedure you’ll provide them.

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