How do you view your patients? Are they priority one, your world, the only thing that matters? If so, the last thing you want is to watch as they leave you for another dental practice, because they are not getting the gold standard treatment they deserve. Which is why it is so important to let your patients in on the conversation by providing them with the opportunity to understand what’s going on with easy-to-understand information on oral health issues, dental treatment, and proper oral hygiene techniques. This can take patience and time, but being committed to good patient education doesn’t just benefit your patients in profound ways. See below how opening up to your patients, abandoning the jargon and letting them in on the conversation can also significantly benefit you and your practice.
Patients benefit by . . .
Better understanding their own oral health issues
I get that you understand what you’re saying when you are discussing oral health issues. You should. You are the expert after all. But to your patients (at least the ones who are not training to be Dental Professionals), you really might as well be speaking a completely different language. And patients who really want to be engaged in understanding what’s going on with their teeth hit a language barrier. But opening up and abandoning the jargon will guarantee your patients a much deeper understanding of their oral health issues, which will in turn, help them to make healthy decisions when it comes to prevention.
Reaping the benefits of prevention
You and your team were educated to fully understand, diagnose, and prevent issues that arise inside the mouth. You and your team know all the tricks of the trade. Your patients most likely don’t. But starting the conversation and giving your patients the opportunity to contribute allows results in them truly understanding and therefore reaping the benefits of prevention. In my own experience, the most I’ve known about prevention is that flossing and brushing every day will help prevent cavities, but anything beyond that was way over my head. Which is why I didn’t know about the benefits of a floss handle (I didn’t even know they existed!) until my dentist had a conversation with me about it and encouraged me to talk about my challenges with flossing.
This will inevitably result in . . .
Higher case acceptance
For a patient, being a part of the conversation is crucial to case acceptance. This is why your patients understanding their own oral health issues is so important to them and you. Allowing them to be a part of the conversation and the decision at large will give them the confidence they need to accept the treatment without feeling like they have been left in the dark. And better still, they will start developing a sense of trust and will be more open to your treatment solutions, because you have given them the sincere impression that you are putting them, and not the sale of the product, first.
Which then equals to . . .
What you’re offering your patients just by engaging them in the conversation about their oral health is a more thorough understanding of the issues and the prevention techniques to help them avoid more issues down the road. But even though patients will appreciate the time you take with them and the effort you put into addressing their needs and concerns, they will appreciate more your sincerity and genuine care for their well-being, establishing trust and therefore guaranteeing their loyalty to you and your practice.
And this finally becomes . . .
By engaging your patients in the important decisions about their oral health, you are supplying them with a genuinely positive experience. Your patients will be encouraged to tell others either by positive word-of-mouth or positive online reviews, both of which provide you with free marketing.
If you have any advice for how best to implement patient education strategies, please feel free to start the conversation in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you!