What Do Patients Look for in a Dental Practice?

The Consumer Oral Health Survey 2019 asks patients what they look for when choosing a dental practice.

First in the survey, at 90%, is the need for a dental surgery to be sterile and hygienic. This comes joint with the expectation that the dentist will look after the patient’s teeth and gums.

However, there is a rise in the number of responses related to cosmetic surgery. Offering cosmetic treatments is an important aspect when choosing a dental practice for 38% of respondents in the survey.

A key aspect of competitiveness in cosmetic surgery is having the right dental equipment and, closely tied to this, projecting the right kind of brand image for patients looking to access these treatments.


Dentists Must Continue to Evolve

The rise in cosmetic surgery presents an opportunity for commercial dental practices, but it is also a challenge when it comes to competing in a growing marketplace.

With chosen cosmetic treatments, the patient is more likely to consider whether the dentist they choose appears to match their expectations before committing to anything.

As such, it is important for dentists offering these treatments to consider how much the environment they work in, and which their customers experience, is a good reflection of their brand values.

Not only this, but advanced dental equipment can also work as an extension of their marketing. One example of this is with digital imaging.


Making the Case for Cosmetic Dental Treatment

Many potential patients will not see cosmetic dentistry as a necessity in the same way they would regular dental treatment.

However, modern digital imaging is an exceptionally able tool in helping people see potential outcomes of cosmetic dental treatment.

It is a case of seeing is believing, even if what the patient is seeing is in the realm of augmented reality.

Furthermore, using images is a great way of engaging patients in the whole treatment process.

This idea of engagement is critical in marketing cosmetic treatments.


Building a Reputation Using Your Dental Equipment

Reputation is hugely influential in successful marketing of dental practices, and this applies as much to cosmetic treatments as the more run of the mill stuff.

Back to the survey. 79% of respondents would choose a dentist based on the reputation a practice has, or recommendations from other patients.

This goes back to the experience patients have. It is vital that all the parts fit, that the end-to-end service all ties in together, from reception to consultation, treatment and aftercare.

What is the patient’s experience of the practice? Here, central cornerstones of treatment such as the dental chair can make a massive difference.

It is not a case of the dental chair being overtly high-tech, but rather that it makes the patient feel as comfortable as possible, and that it enables a seamless flow of treatment.

Finally, at 87% in the survey is good customer service. This is something all dental practices should be prioritising.

However, this is not just about the interaction with the patient at a human communication level.

It is also about the impression of the practice in its entirety that the patient forms.

“What people want from their dentist is changing, and as treatments become more varied, so people’s decision-making becomes more discerning. Dentists must rise to the challenge. The right equipment and practice fit-out can offer the essential support dentists need to do this.”

Pete Higson, RPA Dental