There’s so much more to our patients than where they work, what type of insurance they have, and that gnarly MODBL amalgam on tooth # 30. And getting to know them as a real person and not just a set of teeth goes a long way towards all of the things we want – treatment plan acceptance, generating referrals, etc…
Maybe even more importantly – getting to know our patients better is FUN! You will learn some interesting things and find out some really cool stuff when you get to know someone a little better. It’s a great step to becoming a trusted and respected partner in their dental and overall health.
Here’s a simple question to ask your patients:
“What would you like to be doing if you weren’t at a dental appointment right now?”
Or you can throw in a little self-deprecating humor and say something like:
“I know that you would rather be in the dental office than anywhere else, but what’s in second place?”
Try it! You’ll learn some fascinating things about your patients – like the shy guy who’s climbed the highest peak on every continent, or the granny who was the lead singer in a psychedelic rock band in the 60s! I had both of these and thousands more interesting folks in my practice, and would have never known these things about them without asking. And then of course, make chart notes about your conversations and rekindle them on future visits.
Go ahead. Give it a try! At the very least it will make the day more fun for you AND your patients. But more than that, when you see your patient as a whole person, everything gets better.