Each patient that sits on your dental chair is unique. Not only in the aspect of dental problems per se but in the way they communicate, behave, even show up at your clinic. The key to keeping them in your practice is to learn these nuances so that you can provide them the best care. That said, here are the types of dental patients you’ll meet in your clinic and ways you can better engage with them:
The Reactive Patient
These are the ones who book for appointments only when they get a toothache the night before or a sensitive they’ve been dealing with for weeks. By their name, they only react to dental issues as they crop up. So when they show up at your office, the one thing in their minds is to have the problem fixed as soon as possible. They’ll ask you directly what should be done, how long the procedure will take, whether or not they can return to their routines in a snap. Once the problem gets solved, you’ll never hear from them again. Until, of course, another cavity happens. Your goal for these types of patients is to step up their commitment to oral care. Educate them. At the same time, recommend actionable steps that are one, easy to achieve, and two, not too much of a hassle — for instance, going in for professional cleanings twice a year. It’s not a big commitment, but it’s a step towards making them more proactive about their oral health.
The Proactive Patient
These are the ones who honor their appointments. They ask questions. They complete their treatments. But of course, they’re not without a problem. A lot of proactive patients tend to be concerned about their bills. Knowing full well that they have to take their oral health seriously, they also understand the costs that come with such. In this regard then, help your patients afford your dental services. For instance, you can provide a flexible payment structure, spreading the costs out throughout dental care. This works best in orthodontic treatments. Start with a downpayment at the time of acceptance and then let them pay the rest every month when they go in for their adjustments or fixing of gold braces brackets until they put in the last payment when you discuss retainers. Of course, another way you can help patients afford services is to give discounts. Those who have been loyal to your practice surely deserve some rewards, right? Roll out a discount program for your proactive patients.
The Discretionary Patient
These are the patients who go over and beyond the basics of health care. They’re willing to put their money on aesthetic treatments. Usually, these are the people heavily influenced by their peers, celebrities, or just about anything that’s trending. So they might want to go for teeth whitening because one of their friends got one or because an influencer posted about a specific procedure on their Instagram. Your goal in this type of patient is to educate them as much as possible regarding the procedures they want. Again, often, they’re motivated by trends and peer pressure, not by some credible information they got, so you need to walk them through the procedure, manage expectations, and discuss risks if there are any.
Who’s Your Patient?
Every day, you meet different people in your clinic. Different patients with different needs, habits, communication styles, motivations, etc. Understand their profiles well so you can give them better patient care.