Little things in life can make a big difference. If you appreciate the little things, you’ll soon realize how important they are. Big events are certainly important but they don’t happen that often – the reality is that it’s the little things that often mean the most in the long run.
While the little things play a big role in all aspects of our life, they’re particularly important when it comes to finding quality dental healthcare, especially if your family needs orthodontic treatment.
Getting teeth straightened can be a stressful time for youngsters and adults alike if your orthodontist and their team don’t go the extra mile to put you at ease during what can be a lengthy treatment of 12 months-plus.
All those fancy hi-tech dental gadgets and cutting-edge orthodontic techniques are all very well but will count for little in terms of a good patient experience if your dentist can’t make you feel good about your treatment.
An orthodontic practice that strives for perfection will do everything you expect from teeth straightening experts – and then some more.
And it’s these little things that matter more than anything else in making you feel you’re important – part of a partnership with your orthodontist as you work together toward the ultimate goal of an awesome smile.
Like Sam’s Cheers bar in the Boston-set TV sitcom, your orthodontist’s office should be a place where everyone knows your name.
Putting Patients at Ease
The clinical atmosphere of medical settings like dental offices can be uncomfortable for many patients, especially young ones.
White coats, bright lights, and antiseptic smells aren’t things we typically encounter in everyday life and may trigger anxiety. For instance, white coat syndrome1 is a phenomenon that causes a patient’s blood pressure to spike in a clinical setting.
Another problem is that orthodontic patients tend to be embarrassed about their crooked teeth and dread the prospect of having them literally put in the spotlight and examined in detail.
For others, the “hospital smell” may be unsettling. This pungent aroma is inevitable in a medical office – that lingering odor of disinfectant is a result of ensuring a germ-free environment.
However, little things can be done to diminish the effects of issues like these and create a more pleasant patient experience.
One little thing that makes a big difference is being greeted by a friendly receptionist who knows your name. A waiting area with little touches to make patients feel relaxed is also important, particularly for kids.
Keeping patients in the loop is another little thing that really matters. For instance, if you’re starting orthodontic treatment, you should have the whole process explained to you so you know what to expect – it’s anxiety about the unknown that makes many patients feel ill at ease.
Learning about the cool cutting-edge dental technology behind the treatment process can also be fun for kids and teens as well as informative.
Dental Visits That Are More Like a Party!
A family-friendly dental office that cares about the little things will have bright decor and diversions like cuddly toys, games and free Wi-Fi to keep kids amused while they wait to see the doctor. You may also find snacks and even treats like ice cream are available.
Some dental offices seem to have a team with energy to spare – enough to go around for everyone and create a party-type vibe by swapping jokes with patients and celebrating their achievements, and occasionally even dancing with them to some cool tunes!
This upbeat approach can also be extended outside of the dental office, with participation in community events and supporting good causes.
Importance of the Human Touch
No one likes to be kept waiting too long, and a good dental office will be geared toward ensuring patients are seen on time, while never feeling they’re being rushed around.
Once in the dental chair, other little things – like fun sunglasses to counter the glare of bright lights – can help to relax young children.
And little touches like the soft skills behind a good chairside manner can go a long way toward making patients of all ages less nervous.
While the clinical expertise achieved through extensive training is essential for an orthodontic specialist, having the human touch makes patients feel welcome and far more relaxed.
Compassion and empathy make for better engagement with patients, and the encouragement, support, and positivity of a caring dental team will make patients feel valued as a person, rather than feeling like just another patient number.
Other little things that matter in an orthodontic practice include:
- Courtesy – like welcoming patients with a smile, and a handshake for new patients.
- Valuing people – with a person-centered approach.
- Listening – patients appreciate it when they know their concerns are being taken seriously.
- Realizing that each patient is unique.
Little Things Parents Can Do
Parents can also do a few little things to make the orthodontic experience of young children more enjoyable.
- Take time to prepare your child for their first appointment.
- Maintain an upbeat attitude.
- Encourage your child to stay positive – remind of the awesome smile they’re going to get.
However, the most important thing is to find a good orthodontist for your kids – one whose clinical proficiency is complemented by a focus on the little things that make treatment fun.
Making Patients Happy
Here at Hi5 Orthodontics2, we think that getting straight teeth should go hand in hand with having a good time.
Smiles are contagious at Hi5 Orthodontics, where the team are in the happiness business and believe that orthodontics can actually be fun for all the family.
We do everything we can to make your visit the highlight of your day so that you’ll look forward to your next appointment. While it’s the little things that make our orthodontic office fun, they can also have a serious side.
Scientists have found that smiling improves your mood by changing your brain chemistry. Smiling through your orthodontic treatment will make you feel better about yourself and reduce anxiety, helping to avoid stress-related physical health problems due to a weakened immune system. And if your body is healthy, the outcome of your treatment will be better.