Dental Hygienist Tips for Communicating with Patients in your Chair

Communication is key in every situation and especially when it comes to building relationships with your dental hygiene patients.  

As a hygienist it’s important to effectively educate and talk through each visit. Adopting the right ways to connect can lead to an improved relationship and better care overall. 

There are four main tips to consider when communicating with patients in your chair: 

Show empathy and be friendly

Just like with most medical office visits the dentist can make people a little anxious. To calm those initial nerves it’s important to connect with the patient in a friendly manner. 

Convey a friendly attitude from the start and ask some personal questions to get to know them. Write down any notable information and reference it the next time they are in the office. 

When a patient can sense your empathy and friendliness it provides a level of comfort that acts as a stepping stone to the foundation of a strong relationship. 

Tell Them What’s Going To Happen

On top of adding comfort with friendliness, another tip for communicating with patients in your chair is to keep them informed at all times. Never let them wonder what is going on. 

Walk them through each part of the procedure and give them any details about why you’re performing a specific task. The more mystery there is with what you’re doing the higher the chance of them having a negative experience.  

Give Them Options and Alternatives

Anything outside of the standard procedures needs to come with well explained options and alternatives. Address the suggested recommendation first, but always give them all of the available choices, not just the ones you think they should choose. 

Go over all the information in a logical and easy to digest format avoiding jargon whenever possible. Let them feel like they have an equal say in their course of action. You want them to leave feeling good about their decisions not full of regret. 

Take Time To Listen

When communicating with patients in your chair, encourage them to ask questions throughout, and listen to their concerns. Let each person feel heard without embarrassing them based on how they feel, or what they want to know more about. 

If you’re having trouble getting someone to open up, prompt them with a few open-ended questions. Start with something like “Can you tell me about any issues you want to discuss today?” This will jump start conversations more than a general yes or no question would and can provide a great listening opportunity. 

Simply taking a moment to listen allows you to further strengthen your relationship with the patients and therefore provide them personalized and intuitive care.  

Exceptional Dental Experiences Start with Great Communication

Communication skills can drive the success of your business, and can make for a better experience at the dentist office. Prioritize how you connect with patients and watch as your relationships, and quality of care grow exponentially.

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