How to Improve the Patient Experience in a Dental Office

Dental Practice Office Manager

Getting a patient into the dentist’s office can feel like, well, pulling teeth. Nearly ¾ of the American population deal with dental anxiety or fear. That said, dental clinics that wish to improve patient satisfaction and foster loyalty must install proactive measures to alleviate many of the common pain points of dental visits.  

Fortunately, there are ways to numb the pain and restore patients’ confidence in your dental practices. 

Tip #1: Make Your Website User-Friendly 

Is your dental practice’s website easy to access and navigate? Can patients find what they need at a glance? 

Your website is your digital office. The place where patients can go to learn about your services, gauge your expertise, request an appointment, and discover more about what sets you apart from your competitors.

You may not think of your website as a part of their dental office experience, but it is. It may be the first touchpoint patients encounter as they search for a new dentist. And yet, far too many dental clinics ignore its importance. An SEO-formatted website can help patients: 

  • Find you more easily on search engines
  • Discover answers to their dental inquiries
  • Understand your services and procedures
  • Read online reviews and patient testimonies

In addition to mobile-responsive and fast-losing web pages, be sure to engage prospective patients with CTA buttons that are effectively placed and encourage visitors to make an appointment. You may also want to write regularly for your blog to share your expertise with current patients and show visitors that you’re a trusted and knowledgeable resource for all of their dental care woes.

Tip #2: Offer Online Scheduling and Easy Reminders

Most dental patients will only see their dentist on an annual or semi-annual basis. Even if a patient books a future appointment at the end of their visit, there’s a high likelihood they lose the physical reminder card with the dental appointment information.

To show your patients that you and your team are there to guide them through every aspect of the dental patient experience, provide online booking, as well as automated reminders in the weeks and days leading up to their next appointment. Ideally, they should be able to visit your site to access their dental records and book, reschedule, or cancel an appointment. 

Tip #3: Go Digital 

A significant percentage of all dental appointments will require the dentist to take a traditional mold impression. However, this process can be error-prone, time-consuming, and uncomfortable, particularly for patients with a strong gag reflex. 

Fortunately, analog mold impressions are being replaced by digital methodologies that can ease patient discomfort.

With the help of an intraoral scanner, a dentist can capture high-quality digital dental models in a fraction of the time—and without the discomfort. These scanners can record the size and shape of each tooth and then turn that data into a 3D impression that is instantly sent to the lab for fabrication. 

Going digital can turn a long-despised process into a quick, pain-free dental patient experience. All the while, dentists can save time and money, and create more accurate impressions.

Tip #4: Improve the Office Design 

If you’re looking to alleviate patient concerns and anxieties, curate a comfortable environment for them to walk into. Your dental practice’s office design should provide a sense of calm and reassurance from the moment a patient steps through your doors. Even small changes can help improve the overall experience.

In fact, studies have shown that touches of nature, such as live plants and running water, can improve positive moods and support a calm demeanor.

You can also consider curating your office with: 

  • Peaceful color schemes and soft visuals
  • Calming music
  • Entertainment in the waiting room with TVs, books, magazines, or iPads
  • An open layout design
  • Subtle and warm lighting
  • Comfortable furniture

Knowing how to improve the patient experience involves adding design elements that promote a sense of comfort among your patients to help ease any nerves they may feel before their appointment.

Tip #5: Alleviate Wait Times  

Long patient wait times are a leading contributor to patient dissatisfaction. According to a CNBC survey, 85% of patients say they have to wait between 10–30 minutes past their scheduled appointment to actually see the doctor. 

One of the best patient retention strategies you can use to minimize perceived wait time is by placing digital signage and televisions in your waiting room. Doing so can keep patients engaged, informed, and entertained. Proper usage of these technologies enables you to: 

  • Draw attention away from the wait
  • Influence patients at the point of purchase
  • Provide information that can calm concerns 

Another step you can take is to be transparent and let your patients know exactly what to expect to ease their nerves. This displays honesty and forthright patient communication, which they value. 

Tip #6: Offer Free WiFi

In today’s digital world, making WiFi available is no longer a nice-to-have amenity. It’s a must-have. 

Practically everyone will have a digital device on them, and providing them with free, high-speed WiFi allows your patients to find a distraction or research their dental treatment plan to ease their nerves. 

Tip #7: Provide Guidance, Expertise, and Follow Up Care 

Patients entrust their dentist—the medical expert—with their dental care and health. But after a dental procedure is finished and the patient leaves the chair, the dentist’s work isn’t done. 

Top dentists provide the continued support and education patients need to maintain their oral health. You can do this by: 

  • Sharing healthy dental hygiene habits
  • Following up after an appointment 
  • Offering digital portals, resources, and reminders  

The more involved you are in your patient’s health, the more satisfied they’ll be with your service. 

Dandy—Working to Improve the Patient Experience 

A trip to the dentist doesn’t have to be a bad experience. In fact, it shouldn’t be.  

By installing proactive measures, such as those discussed above, you can demonstrate to patients that you’re trustworthy and care about their health outcomes. 

If you want more tips on how to improve patient experience in a dental office, trust Dandy to make the difference. 

We’re a first-of-its-kind digital dental lab, designed to level-up practices by helping them go digital. With the help of Dandy technologies like the intraoral scanner and CAD/CAM dentistry technology, you can see more patients, increase operational efficiency, and improve the overall patient experience.  

What would going digital look like? Schedule a call with our experts to learn more.

Sources: 

Statistics Stats. Dentophobia Statistics of Dentist Fear and Anxiety. https://www.statisticstats.com/health/dentophobia-statistics-of-dentist-fear-and-anxiety/

Research Gate. Happiness and Feeling Connected: The Distinct Role of Nature Relatedness. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268034689_Happiness_and_Feeling_Connected_The_Distinct_Role_of_Nature_Relatedness 

CNBC. Most Stressful Part Of Doctor’s Visit: The Wait, Says Survey. https://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/05/most-stressful-part-of-doctors-visit-the-wait-says-survey.html