#7 – Goes through a new client exam

(You never get a second chance to make a good first impression)

You have been with us long enough to know how hard we work to care for people and provide quality care.

The cornerstone for this quality care is a thorough exam. We can’t make someone dentally healthy. Only our client can take the responsibility for making themselves healthy. Our task is to establish a relationship with our clients where they feel respected and supported so they can make the treatment choices and lifestyle changes that will lead to their improved health. I wish every client would allow us to provide this service. This is the most significant opportunity we have to communicate with clients. In order for you to promote this service to our clients, you should experience it yourself.

You may have your own dentist and choose to maintain this relationship. That’s certainly ok. However, I would still like for you to have the exam so you can see how valuable it is in establishing a positive relationship with our clients.

Put yourself in the shoes of this new client. No one likes to visit a dentist. The first visit magnifies all these fears/concerns. They don’t know if we know what we’re doing. Will we hurt them? Will it cost too much? Will they be treated like children? Help!

How can we make the first contact with us a bang-up positive experience? First of all, it’s not the first 10 minutes that count, it’s the first minute.

Once a client enters the office, what the secretary does speaks much louder than what she says. Keep these things in mind:

1. Smile, stand and greet the client by name
2. Good eye contact
3. How you hold your head
4. Your general expression and demeanor
5. Be polite

Let’s assume that the client’s first contact went well. The secretary was friendly. She found out the chief reason for our client’s visit. She discussed the value of thorough exam. The client accepted. She sent the client a health questionnaire. Our client brought it in for the first appointment. S/he was greeted by name. We were on time and if not, a staff member apologizes if we’re more than 5 minutes late. The reception room was clean and neat.

Your doctor or his assistant will greet the client personally in the reception room. The client is escorted to the doctor’s office. Now your doctor is responsible for the following sequence:

1. Learning about the client as a person
2. Find out who referred them to our office
3. Reviewing the past dental history
4. Reviewing the past medical history
5. Thorough dental exam

As your dentist finishes this appointment, s/he will tell the chairside what is needed:
1. Necessary X-rays
2. Intraoral camera pictures
3. Blood pressure

Discussion with the client – either at this time or at a follow-up conference if the treatment is extensive to review existing conditions and various treatments and fees. Our thorough exam is designed to move our clients form unawareness—>awareness—>involvement—>understanding—>concern—>action.

Clients accept treatment if we answer these questions:

1. Does it meet their personal wishes?
2. Does the fee seem fair (good value)?
3. Are the benefits important to them?
4. Do they trust us to provide the service?

Now the client is returned to a secretary to arrange:

1. Next appointment
2. Finances
3. Answer any other questions

Dr. Signature __________________________________

Five-Year Review

Many of you have been with me for more than 10 of the 15 years I’ve practiced here. If you’ve been with me more than 5 years, you know how many changes have occurred in the last few years – bonding, non-surgical gum treatments, electro-anesthesia and much more.

During the first exam we had together years ago, I didn’t know these things. Also, the original goals you set are probably now achieved. Do you have new goals? How has the dental treatment that I provided held up? Has it withstood the test of time?

Every five years you should have these questions answered. To be thorough, this appointment should include:
1. A panoramic X-ray – to check for tumors, bone problems, joint problems, and abscessed teeth – (more than 50% of abscessed teeth aren’t painful).
2. Review your past medical/dental history. Has there been any change in your medical health – exercise, nutrition, stress management. How about your dental health – decay and gum problems controlled, how about joints, your bite, the appearance of your smile?
3. A thorough oral exam – time for you and me to check your joints, muscles, bite, smile, teeth, gums, and your head and neck.
4. Review – time for us to discuss what I’ve seen and for us to set new goals.

Here is the fee for this appointment:
Exam and conference $

Reasons to do a 5-year review:
1. Mouth can change
2. Person’s attitudes can change
3. We probably didn’t start with a thorough exam