Dentaltown June 2021 - 12

professional courtesy
column
Trust Me, I'm a Doctor
Each year, Gallup gathers data on the honesty and
ethical standards of various professions. In the 2019
poll, dentistry ranked fi fth (after nurses, engineers,
medical doctors and pharmacists). Sixty-one percent of
Americans said dentists' honesty and ethical standards
were " very high " or " high " ; the score for nurses was 85%.
Our status as professionals provides some automatic
trust, but we must actively build that trust with our
patients because numerous outside forces are eroding
trust in society. Some online " news " sources use media
manipulation in their reporting, and deep fake technology
allows for the seamless alteration of photos and videos
that can lead us to question things that were previously
considered " proof. " Now, body cams have become
standard equipment for police offi cers and security
cameras have been mounted in every conceivable public
and private location-even our doorbells.
What are some of the factors at play once patients enter
your dental practice? If you are a young dentist, they're
aware of the massive increase in the cost of education.
Patients have always harbored some underlying skepticism
about profi t motives, and paying off a six-fi gure debt is
a reasonable concern. Older dentists are not immune
to the comments about income, but it usually takes the
form of a comment about your vacation home, fancy
car or kid's education.
We know these insults are often a defense mechanism
from anxious or fi nancially stressed patients bracing for
expensive solutions to their problems. Others may be
infl uenced by comments posted under their Facebook
status update ( " Feeling sad, I just broke my tooth " ).
By the third comment, you may see ones that say, " My
last dentist ripped me off " or, " My friend had a broken
tooth and instead of fi lling it, the dentist made her get a
root canal and crown. " You get the idea.
While a patient's concerns about
fi nances are a big contributor to lack
of trust, there are other factors at play.
Prior bad experiences are typically at the
top of the list. When a patient presents
with complaints about his previous
dentist, it's time to take notes. Did the
injection hurt last time, was the fi lling
sensitive or did a procedure not turn out
as expected? Clear communication and
remembering the information your patient provided will
lead to big dividends in your trust account.
So, how can you build that cryptocurrency of trust
with your patients? Start very simply by meeting them
where they live-with photo evidence. It's instant
Instagram. I take an intraoral photo of every tooth I
treat and every problem that I discuss with a patient.
If it can't be seen in a photograph, then it might be
visible in an X-ray.
If the problem is more esoteric, perhaps you could
fi nd an article online and print it for them to read at
home. Why should you do a Google search for your
patient? Because they're going to do it when they get
home anyway, and you'll get to pick something from
a reputable source. Of course, you don't need to go
this far in every case, but you know when you need it.
In other cases, you may fi nd that a patient cannot
accept the treatment despite the full-color photo you
shared on the big TV screen. If that's the case, then
encourage them to wait it out and see if the problem
goes away. I'm being a bit facetious, but I do think that
some patients don't appreciate your honesty until they
fi nd out that you are willing to do nothing.
How do you build trust with your patients? Do you
think your new patients trust you more or less than they
did fi ve years ago? Share your thoughts and opinions
online at dentaltown.com. You can also reach me by
email at tom@dentaltown.com. ■
by Thomas Giacobbi, DDS, FAGD, editorial director, Dentaltown magazine
12 JUNE 2021 // dentaltown.com
http://www.dentaltown.com http://www.dentaltown.com

Dentaltown June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown June 2021

Dentaltown June 2021 - Intro
Dentaltown June 2021 - Cover1
Dentaltown June 2021 - Cover2
Dentaltown June 2021 - 1
Dentaltown June 2021 - 2
Dentaltown June 2021 - 3
Dentaltown June 2021 - 4
Dentaltown June 2021 - 5
Dentaltown June 2021 - 6
Dentaltown June 2021 - 7
Dentaltown June 2021 - 8
Dentaltown June 2021 - 9
Dentaltown June 2021 - 10
Dentaltown June 2021 - 11
Dentaltown June 2021 - 12
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Dentaltown June 2021 - 16
Dentaltown June 2021 - 17
Dentaltown June 2021 - 18
Dentaltown June 2021 - 19
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Dentaltown June 2021 - 21
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Dentaltown June 2021 - Cover3
Dentaltown June 2021 - Cover4
Dentaltown June 2021 - Outsert_1
Dentaltown June 2021 - Outsert_2
Dentaltown June 2021 - Outsert_3
Dentaltown June 2021 - Outsert_4
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/February2017
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