Kindness in the Practice… It Really Works!

Real World Insights from AADOM Authors - Kay Thompson

With so much “stuff” going on in the world today, you can’t help but think back to a time when things were different. You know, when people were just kind to each other; not because they wanted anything, but because common courtesy and respect are the right things to do.

It doesn’t cost a thing to be kind to others, and the impact it can have can be simply amazing and potentially make a big difference in a person’s day… or even their life!

Overcoming Patient Discomfort with Compassion

Let’s face it, the dental office is not most people’s favorite place to be! How often do we hear, “I’m terrified of the dentist,” “I hate going to the dentist,” or “I’m ok, but I’ll be better when this appointment is over?”

Sometimes it can get a little irritating when patients consider us to be “the bad guys.” But, if we just stop to think about it, we are blessed to be in a field that gives us the opportunity every day to help make a difference for someone else. Not only through the dentistry we offer but the way we treat patients in our office.

Being in a dental office and working on patients is normal for us. In fact, I think sometimes we can forget that not everyone is as comfortable being there as we are, even if they manage to hide it well.

Our patients look to us and our team members for comfort and assurance that everything is going to be ok. That’s exactly what we need to give them! It can be as simple as a caring smile, a comforting pat on a shoulder or hand, or a team member taking the time to walk beside them (not in front of them) on the way to or from the operatory and genuinely listening to what they have to say.

Literally, tell your patients that you appreciate them! After all, they could be going to any dental practice, but they have chosen yours!

Some of these simple gestures can soften even the gruffest patients… I said CAN; however, there will be some patients that, no matter what you do, you aren’t going to change the way they perceive being at the dental office. That’s ok!

At least if you try to make it better for them, you can lay your head down at night, knowing that you gave it your best effort. Besides, you never know; a seed of kindness you plant today may not sprout until another day. There’s some food for thought!

Some doctors may feel that this way of behaving around patients is not professional. Not that they encourage you to be rude or mean to the patients, but maybe just not so personable.

Here’s the thing:

You can be kind-hearted to patients while still being professional. I know this to be true because I see this happening in our practice every day and the patients love us for it.

Not only is being genuinely kind to the patients important, but it is also SO important to be kind to co-workers in front of the patients. Let them see that you not only care about them and their well-being, but that you care about your teammates and doctors just as much. I have found that being kind can do as much for you as it does for the other person. The best part is that this “kindness thing” rubs off on others. I have seen it happen over and over again!

So even with all this “stuff” going on in the world today, simple and genuine kindness is still the answer, and it’s even more important than ever!

About the Author

Headshot of Kay Thompson

As a little girl, Kay used to play “dentist” with her dolls using her mother’s kitchen utensils as her “instruments.” After completing the Dental Assistant Program at St. Louis Community College in Kirkwood MO, Kay worked as an assistant for 20 years. She went on to become a Practice Administrator, a role she has now held for over a decade.

Kay is a lifetime AADOM member and earned her fellowship designation (FAADOM) in 2020. She is currently completing the requirements for her mastership designation, (MAADOM). Away from the practice, she loves riding motorcycles and ATVs with her husband and spending lots of time with their daughters and six grandchildren.

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