Walking the Tightrope of Patient Communication

Communication plays a vital role in breaking down barriers between the patient and dental health professional, and in strengthening the treatment alliance. At your first visit, the Comprehensive Exam, Dr. Still take the first steps in understanding your responses and reactions to your dental health and to gain as much information as possible about you. By doing this, he reduces barriers and in this way, strengthens the treatment alliance which better enables you to accept and comply with the preventive dental health care advice and restorative treatment plans being offered and provided by Smile Sarasota and our experienced staff.

If we are to provide good health care and promote self-reliance in our patients, we must know our patients. We do this by considering important episodes in our patients’ lives, by knowing problems or difficulties our patients encounter and by recognizing their apprehensiveness about dental treatment.

We must be proficient in our communication skills.We encourage our patients to ventilate their feelings, thoughts, worries and fears in relation to treatment and its outcome, as well as ensuring that our patients fully understand what is being said.

Dr. Still must walk the tightrope between being objective on the one hand, and empathetic on the other hand, with regard to our patients’ needs. The ability to achieve a balance between objectivity and empathy is the essence of effective communication. Communication is a two-way process and we encourage you to ask questions and to make every effort to communicate with Dr. Still and his staff. We will always give you plenty of time to ask questions about his recommendations and we will always give you a written treatment plan that outlines everything discussed. Let’s walk the tightrope together and communicate about your needs so you can have healthy teeth and gums for life!

Sources and Credits: Social Science and Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Psychology and Health