Patient Experience |4 min read

Elevating the Patient Experience

Blog post by Brooke Paul, MAADOM

How many times a day do we hear, “Ugh, I hate coming to the dentist,” or “Having to be at the dentist’s office is like torture?” I’ve even had someone tell me they’d rather have a colonoscopy than a dental visit. Seriously. I get it. We’re not everyone’s favorite place to be. I use these comments as motivation to make their visit exceptional. I love it when those patients change their opinion to, “This is the best dental appointment I’ve ever had” by the end of their visit.

Here are a few tips to effectively elevate every patient’s experience:

A Call from the Dentist

Whether it be a post-op call after surgery or welcoming a new patient to the practice, a direct call from the dentist is sure to impress. It shows the patients they’re valued and gives them confidence in the individualized care they will receive. The best thing about this one is that it only takes a couple of minutes out of our day to make a lasting impression.

Remember Tidbits About Them

We’re all busy, and sometimes patients can see that as soon as they walk in the door. No one wants to feel like they’re rushed through their appointment or don’t have the undivided attention they deserve. In our office, we make notes in a separate section of their chart about sports tryouts, a new grandbaby, or whatever life happenings they may have mentioned at their last visit. While “remembering” a little something about them may seem like a small thing, it has a big impact. It makes the patient feel important. Who doesn’t love that? We’ve found asking for updates on life happenings helps build and solidify relationships with our patients.

Convenient Payment Options

I know the admin team is tired of my lame joke “We’re the most painful part of coming to the dentist,” when patients are checking out, but most of the time, it’s true! While we do our best to estimate patient portions and collect at the time of service, there will always be something the insurance doesn’t pay. Which means generating a bill for the patient. We were old school and had patients mail checks or, even worse – had a place for them to write out their credit card number on the statement to be mailed back. Yikes, right? If it’s not convenient, it will get put on the back burner, leading to accounts receivable problems later. Since everyone has their phone within arm’s reach, I edited our statements to include a QR code for online payments, and it’s been a big success!
Sometimes it’s not about convenience but breaking down barriers to dental care. Times are hard for everyone right now. Offering an in-house payment plan is an opportunity to provide care some patients might have trouble affording. Contact your merchant services to set up a program that auto-drafts monthly payments. In our office, we’ve created an Excel file that can easily calculate down payments and monthly payments to streamline the process.

Offer An In-House Membership Plan

The #1 barrier is, of course, affordability. We’ve developed our own in-house membership plan for uninsured patients, and it’s worked out fantastic! We included common procedures – mostly preventative and diagnostic – at no charge and discounts on everything else. There are no pre-existing exclusions or maximums, and it’s very much “what you see is what you get.” We manage ours fully in-house, but there are some fantastic companies out there that can set one up for you or even auto-draft monthly fees, bringing recurring income to your practice. It’s a win/win!

We’re always looking for ways to level up the patient experience and keep them happy. They are, after all, the entire reason we’re here. I hope you can implement some of these tips in your practice to make your patient’s visit the most positive it can be and maybe even gain those lifelong relationships.


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About the Author

Photo of Brooke Paul

Brooke Paul, MAADOM

Brooke Paul, MAADOM, is the practice coordinator at Beaver Creek Dental in Knoxville, TN. She has been an AADOM member since 2019 and became a lifetime member in 2022. Brooke received her Fellowship (FAADOM) designation in 2022 and was inducted into the 2023 class of AADOM Masters (MAADOMs).









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