Whilst the most important factor in any dental practice is naturally the skills of the dentist and all those concerned in the actual procedure, there are a number of factors which many dentists are now taking seriously in order to give a safe and relatively pleasant experience for the dental patient.
Those of us who have been around for a few years will probably have experienced the dental chair that was torn, possibly by fingers digging deep into it as the drill approached. These chairs were often thought of as simply functional, somewhere for the patient to lie; for many dentists, it could just have easily have been a board! Modern dentists though recognise that a comfortable and relaxed patient will not only be happier but also much easier to perform the procedure on.
Patient safety of course is a serious concern and cross infection can be a significant risk. Many steps are taken to minimise this risk such as the wearing of masks and gloves. The practices themselves are regularly cleaned and more investment is being made in sterilisation equipment. Even paper records are being replaced with digital ones to prevent the transfer of infections on the paper itself. For those patients who have issues with disability, recent government rules along with a growing awareness means that nearly all top dental practices are fully accessible to those with disabilities.
More thought is also being put into reception areas and waiting rooms. Many dental practice waiting rooms have a fairly stark and minimal appearance, and for good reason. The less furniture there is, the easier it is to keep clean and consequently hygienic. However, this does not offer a warm welcome to a patient. Very few dentists have skills in interior design and in order to improve the patient experience are employing top interior designers to create a warm and welcoming patient area which is also easy to keep clean.
Even the receptionist themselves come under scrutiny and most now receive extra training as they are the first person most people see or talk to when they attend the practice. This first meeting can set the tone for the appointment and a gruff and scruffily dressed receptionist is unlikely to make a good impression on the patient and set them at ease for the procedures ahead.
With a bit of extra effort and a little more investment though, dentists are now turning their practices from places that most people dreaded attending to, if not a pleasant experience, then at least one that does all it can to care for a patient’s overall well being.
As well as improving the patient experience, many dentists such as Alexandra Dental Care of Ashby have noted that it also helps improve the reputation of the business and that word of mouth business increases over time. This investment for many, has proved to be superior to that of other forms of advertising.