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Permanent link  Walking the fine line between friendly and intrusive with your patients

02/11/2009

I belong to a Chicago parents group, and recently one of my fellow members posted this complaint:

I just returned from a visit to the dentist office, where the front desk staff and hygienist peppered me with personal questions, mostly relating to my pregnancy. They also call me by my first name while calling the dentist Dr. So-and-so. These people are strangers to me, and I don't want to answer their questions about my pregnancy....Perhaps other people view this as "warm and friendly" but it feels intrusive to me, and they don't seem to take subtle hints like vague answers.
I thought her post raised some interesting issues. I know for many dental phobia is real problem, and a little extra sunniness and hand-holding goes a long way in alleviating their concerns. But what about the patient who is more reserved? Do you encourage your staff to "read" the patient and tailor their demeanor accordingly? What is your response to a patient who prefers being treated more formally?

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food for thought , patient , front desk ,