How does the "Client Experience" impact the success of dental hygiene appointments ?
We know that for some clients dental hygiene appointments can be a daunting experience and something they easily delay or avoid. One of main reasons I have found is related to discomfort they may have experienced in the past.
Clients make their feelings well known inside and outside the dental operatoy, while discussing their experiences with friends and family.
Since working chair-side for well over a decade, as well as being privileged with my current role to hear from hundreds of hygienists, about what makes a positive impact on their appointments. I have learned ideal strategies hygienists can utilize to make a true difference.
Recognizing our client's comfort is a top priority is one thing, but implementing strategies to meet their on-going needs is another.
One of the best skills we can have as dental hygienists is the ability to put ourselves in our clients shoes. This empathy will allow you to meet the needs of your clients. If you let your clients truly express how they feel, you can begin to create a comfort zone that will build trust to last a lifetime.
Taking the time to talk about appointment details, letting clients know they can rise their hand at anytime for you to stop, can make a world of difference. Another critical factor is the "why", a key part of our dialogue, if clients don't understand the "why" behind what we are doing ( ie. probing) they are more likely to be resistant. The client education that takes place in our operatories is needed for change and improvement to occur.
In addition to our communication strategies, such as listening to our clients to ease fears, we know there are many situations more tangible tools are required. Yes, choosing the perfect instrument, or the gentlest touch can aid in comfort, but we have all had those periodontally involved clients that need more in order to provide comfort chair-side.
For all those dental hygienists out there that can delivery local anesthesia you are lucky to have the ability to do so. Others, like myself in Ontario need to rely on a dentist, or use other means such as a non-injectable local anesthesia. I have found over the years RDH's are looking for something quick, easy and effective, as timing is everything with a busy and fast past environment.
In many situations a non-injectable option is really all the client may need. When clients are presented with the option to quickly and easily numb their sensitive tissues, they welcome this and are truly grateful. Clients see it allows the dental professional to conduct treatment as effectively and efficiently as possible, as well as ease their anxiety.
Another benefit to implementing a non-injectable option is clients value the extra steps you are taking to meet their needs, in order to provide exceptional service, and this mean everything to them. This is when you start to hear the positive stories that clients are sharing with friends and family.
My role with Oral Science has allowed me to educate on a leading and unique option for a non-injectable local anesthesia to support hygiene appointments. It is called Cetacaine and it was specifically designed to deliver a profound anaesthesia in a completely non-invasive way.
It's important to look at options that are available, and make decisions that work best for your clients, you as the provider, and of course the office or working environment your are providing services in.
When the client experience is managed to the best of our ability success will always follow.
Testimonial from Julie RDH practicing in Ontario, GTA
After 15 years of practicing chair-side, I have found a solution for those clients that say "just a light scale please". When using Cetacaine I can have success treating clients who are nervous about discomfort during treatment. It puts my clients at ease and provides the comfort they need so I can do what I need to do as a dental hygienist.
I find it is very important for my clients to be comfortable, but it's equally important to be effective during debridement. Using a non-injectable local anesthesia allows me to do this.