Interacting with people is one of the most, um… interesting parts of being a dentist. Patients can make you feel like the greatest health care provider in the world or a low form of smelly pond scum. They can refer you all their friends and family or sue you for all the money you have. Navigating the sea of personalities out there is never dull and I’ve learned to enjoy the challenge.
I’ve recently discovered a tool to help me navigate that sea of personalities. You see, we totally lose sight of what it’s like to be a patient. We forget what it’s like to fear a needle or wonder why the impression material has to taste so bad. I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful to spend time researching what people are thinking when they’re facing the business end of our handpiece. I’m able to give them a better experience by anticipating their fears and pet peeves. What is this tool that gives me such insight?
I’m a fan of Reddit. It’s a great place to laugh, learn, and laugh some more. The website works by users posting opinions, news items, photos, etc. and then other users comment and vote on their relative awesomeness. It would be weird if I asked my patients detailed questions about their experience as they were leaving the office. But Reddit lets me get unbiased, raw opinions of the public without the awkwardness. Here’s some of the things I’ve picked up:
Pamper them during a cleaning
Don’t scold them for poor hygiene
Oh, there’s so much more to discover. Check out Reddit and do a search on dentists. Fortunately there are a handful of dentists, dental students, hygienists, and assistants who frequent the site to set the record straight.