When you hear the word, dentist, what do you feel? Dread… Anxiety… Discomfort…Perhaps even terror. How many times have you heard the analogy “…it’s kinda like going to the dentist.”? (which is never a good thing). Well, one dentist, Dr. Deborah Cooper-Lall, has taken great lengths to lessen these negative perceptions and calm her patients’ fears via social media. Her Facebook page includes lots of online advice, but also talks about the hiking or rowing she did on the weekend. Making her less the scary dentist.
And more just a real person. On Twitter, she convinced an adult male with a fear of the dentist to come and see her; she also uses Twitter to follow up with patents after procedures and for staff recruitment. She believes a careful blend of talking and listening and accessibility is key in letting people know you care and are human. She is making a positive emotional connection with her patients which is critical in helping to overcome their key emotion: fear.
Another innovative calming technique some dentists has discovered is pet therapy. Patients are soothed by petting or holding a pooch while receiving treatment. One popular pug, Booster, who accompanies 80% of one dentist’s patients, even has his own Facebook page.