This week there was a story that made the national news
About a lady who was so terrified of the dentist that she spent 10 years trying to fix her own teeth with superglue.
Fear of the dentist is one of the most common phobias in the UK, with more people afraid of their regular check up than they are of spiders (Dental Health) and about 1 in 4 people overall admitting they dread visiting the dentist (NHS).
While many dentists are acutely aware of these statistics and are doing as much as they can to prove that dentistry doesn’t deserve its scary reputation, the message still isn’t getting through to a vast number of people. So how can individual dental practices reach out to those people who are really scared and make sure cases like the one this week just don’t happen?
On answer is to make sure that you are making the most of your online reputation. This might seem like it has nothing to do with dentistry, which it wouldn’t, if it weren’t for the fact that is has everything to do with your patients.
Think about the last time you wanted information about something. You probably searched for it online. That’s exactly what countless potential patients are doing.
When someone Googles your practice, one of the first things they will see in the search results will be the reviews and star ratings left for you by other patients. If those reviews are bad, the chances are that potential patient will not want to call your practice.
It may be that your business has no reviews whatsoever and you think you aren’t affected by negativity, but think again. Having no reviews is also bad. It means that someone who is looking for information about your practice has nothing to see. These patients who don’t find what they want to see will most likely continue to suffer in silence. Alternatively they will continue their search for another dentist who has more positive reviews to put their mind at ease.
Show nervous patients what they need to see: examples of other people you have treated who were nervous but are now happy and pain free.
Make the most of social media. For every person that likes an update that you post, that update will be seen by their friends and family, many of whom will also live in your catchment area. When the time comes for those friends and family members to make a long awaited and much needed trip to the dentist they will remember seeing that their friend has liked or commented on your dental practice.
Dental Phobia isn’t going to go away any time soon, but it’s never been easier for dentists to reach out to those people who would never usually set foot within half a mile of a Dental practice. If your online reputation isn’t up to standard then you’re doing your practice, and those fearful patients a huge disservice.