A Few Basics

patient view

We communicate a hundred different ways with patients long before we ever open our mouths (or theirs!). Non-verbal cues are critical for setting the framework of effective doctor-patient communications.

Never meet a patient for the first time with them lying down in the dental chair. Always have the hygienist raise them back up before you come in and try to sit down quickly so you can avoid “looking down” on the patient as you speak with them

Do not have a mask or gloves on. Greet the patient warmly as you sit down to be at their eye level and be sure to introduce the element of a gentle touch by taking their hand in both of yours as a welcoming handshake. You will be clinically touching them soon enough and this first contact can allay much apprehension.

Do not be looking over a chart while you are talking with the patient. That displays a disinterest in their concerns. Also, avoid crossing your arms or legs as that puts a communicative barrier between you both. Be open, enthusiastic and engaging in those first few moments to set the stage for true communication.

Make that essential first encounter warm and friendly; attentive and inviting of patient concerns and you will have established an excellent atmosphere for an ideal doctor-patient relationship based on trust, respect, and confidence.

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