5 Ways You Can Personalize Your Patient Care

Discover how personalized care creates trust and confidence in your patients, ensuring they feel valued and understood.

Print & Go GuidanceBy Paige Anderson, CRDH

There are far too many dental patients who avoid visiting the dentist until they simply can’t put it off any longer. But why is that?

Unfortunately, people all too often have negative experiences at dental visits. These bad experiences usually start with a feeling that they’re just a set of teeth, not human beings with other issues and busy lives.

If a previous dentist presented a generalized treatment plan without explaining it to the patient, that person may now come to your practice feeling suspicious and untrusting.

This is why personalized dental care is so important. Personalized care builds trust and reassures dental patients, which is something they're expecting in 2024.

Personalized Dental Care From a Patient’s Perspective

Patients know the difference between a doctor trying to care for their health versus one just trying to sell treatments they might not actually need.

Personalized care improves your patient’s experience in many ways, including:

  • They’ll understand the current status of their oral health.
  • They’ll be able to connect your services and their quality of life.
  • They’ll feel confident making informed decisions about their dental care.
  • They may feel less anxious at visits and more comfortable completing treatments.

Connecting your treatment plan to your patient's needs can change their thoughts about dental care. Furthermore, this is one of the most effective ways you can help anxious patients overcome dental phobias and empower them to take back control of their oral health.

How Does Personalized Care Improve Your Profitability?

Providing personalized care takes more time. It means collecting detailed diagnostics, listening to your patients’ concerns before starting your examinations, and custom crafting each treatment plan and restoration. However, taking the time to connect personally and tailor care to each patient is an unbeatable recipe for creating a dedicated patient.

Building trust is essential to improving your case acceptance rate and ensuring your patients follow through with planned treatments. In turn, that means better production and profitability for your practice.

How To Personalize Your Dental Care

First and foremost, when you’re talking to your patient, leave the concept of production at the door. It’s not welcome in the room, especially at new patient consultations. That’s something you can sort out later.

Whenever possible, meet your patient while they’re sitting up, and start each exam with a face-to-face conversation. Listen to their concerns. Ask how their oral health has been affecting their day-to-day life. This will show your patients that you care about them as people, not just as a set of teeth to be worked on.

Other than adjusting your chairside manner, which steps can you take to make your treatments more precise and tailored to each patient? How can you communicate personalization to your patients?

1. Update Your Diagnostic Technology

Digital X-rays have become ubiquitous in most areas. While this is a great start, dental diagnostics have advanced by leaps and bounds in the past several years, so it's important to keep up.

For example, a modern diagnostic suite might include:

  • Caries detection technology, like infrared cameras.
  • Intraoral cameras to document visible pathology.
  • CBCT scanners can document anatomy in 3D and measure everything from bone volume to the airway.
  • Oral cancer detection technology.

You can also consider partnering with labs for saliva analysis and genetic testing to help you target preventive care specific to your patient’s risk factors and host response.

Keep an eye out for future developments, too. There’s exciting potential for nanotechnology that may be hitting the industry soon.

2. Look for Places You Can Use AI to Hone Your Diagnostics

Artificial intelligence (AI) has gotten a lot of bad press lately, but it’s not a monolith. It’s been used to great effect in dentistry for many years. AI can analyze images to pinpoint everything from caries to oral cancer to periodontal disease. AI can aggregate medical history records to create detailed risk factor evaluations and even assist you in developing tailored care instructions and treatment plans with predictive analyses for outcomes.

Using AI strategically can help you provide more precise and comprehensive care, leaving less room for human error that can miss potential treatment needs. (Plus, some of that diagnostic technology discussed above comes with services like AI analytics.)

3. Involve Your Patient in Creating Their Treatment Plan

Actively involving each patient in their treatment planning is one of the best ways to ensure case acceptance and follow-through on treatments. Talk to patients about their options rather than rattling off a list of treatments to be checked off. Let them know what outcomes they could expect from each option.

If they have financial limitations, work with them to break their treatments into manageable chunks or connect them with third-party financing. Demonstrate that you’re willing to do whatever you can to help your patients enjoy better health, and they’ll see you as a teammate.

4. Tailor Home Care and After Care Instructions to Your Patients’ Capability

Nothing is more frustrating for patients than feeling lectured about taking better care of their teeth, especially when they know they won’t be able to do what you’re preaching to them. Don’t just recite the same instructions to every patient. Personalize patient instructions with the aid of their health history and medical status. Do they have arthritis? If so, then flossing is probably out of the picture. As such, for these patients, water flossers will probably be easier to use and get better results.

Just as you wouldn’t recommend harsh mouthwash for children, be sure your home and aftercare instructions take into consideration each patient's unique situation.

5. Don't Create Every Treatment Plan Like It’s Your Only Treatment Plan

One-size-fits-all dentistry leads to poor outcomes and dissatisfied patients. Furthermore, it's cost-effective to tailor each treatment plan to your patient’s needs, budget, and lifestyle. For example, dental implants might be the "gold standard" for tooth replacement, but if your patients can’t stop smoking, that patient might be better served with a bridge.

Just like anterior restorations should be crafted to match your patient’s smile, personalized treatment plans ensure the best results. As always, adding safe sedation to your dental practice is by far the most effective way to personalize care for your patients. Personalized sedation dental care translates into happier patients, better patient retention, and more word-of-mouth referrals to your practice.


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Author: Paige Anderson is a certified registered dental hygienist with eight years of clinical experience and an English degree. She blends her two areas of expertise to create resources for dental providers so they can change lives by giving their patients the highest possible standard of care.

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