Dental practices have reopened. Still, some patients have concerns about returning to the dentist. While many medical appointments can be conducted through telehealth, dental cleanings and other dental procedures cannot be performed through teledentistry. Teledentistry is useful for consultations and basic examinations related to emergencies or urgent situations. Your goal is to make patients feel comfortable so they will return for their hygiene and other dental appointments. Here are some ways to gain their trust and let them know you and your practice are here to protect them:
Inform Patients of New Protocols
Make your patients aware of what to expect when they return to the office. Your website should be up-to-date with information about office policy changes. Emails, or even a letter in the mail, can go a long way. Inform them about new safety protocols, including advanced disinfecting procedures, that should decrease their risk of being exposure to COVID-19.
Utilize Social Media
With social media, engaging with current and potential patients has never been easier. Don’t just tell them what’s new, show them! Use pictures and videos to highlight new aspects. Have your staff emphasize how prepared they are for everyone’s return. Another great way to utilize videos is to post short videos of cleaning protocols before and after each appointment and film a walk-through of how patients will check-in and out.
Contact Free Sign-ins
Remove face-to-face interaction wherever possible. Have your patients check in by calling or texting the office when they arrive. They can wait outside or in the car until the team is ready to admit them. This helps support social distancing in the reception area.
Offer Tips and Advice
Always remind your patients that health and safety has ALWAYS been your top priority. While some patients may be reluctant to return to the office, it is important to remind them how critical dental care is for their health. Offer tips for maintaining a cleaning regimen between cleanings and educate them on the connection between oral health and general health.
In the end, there is only so much you can do as a dentist and practice as a whole. Be patient and understanding of patient concerns. Focus on being a leader to, and resource for, your dental team as you all continue to learn and grow through this experience.
Contact Dr. Gerilyn Alfe, DMD, MBA
For more information on preparing for this “new normal” and returning to your practice, contact Dr. Gerilyn Alfe. Give me a call or fill out my contact form for more information on my coaching services.