Using Solea has forced me to carefully consider how I communicate with patients. We forget sometimes that so much of patient care is patient psychology. Because I don’t numb a majority of my patients now, I have to be think about WHAT I say to patients and HOW I say it to prepare them.
For instance, as a dentist I have a bad habit of saying phrases like “oh you won’t feel anything” which isn’t really true whether a patient is numb or not. Patients will always feel pressure and vibration. I know what I’m really meaning to say is “oh you won’t feel any pain.” Semantics. Speaking of which, you should absolutely never mention the following: pain, pinch, uncomfortable, or generally anything leaning negative. They will focus on these negative words and almost always have a poor experience. Patient experience is EVERYTHING.
When performing simple restorative with Solea on patients that aren’t numb, they generally feel a small cold sensation from time to time. So, it is important to tell them in the preop interview that they should expect to feel a cold from time to time. I go a step further and tell the patient, “feeling a little cold is actually a good thing because that means your tooth nerve is healthy.” Solea is not sensationless! Neither are any of your other tools/instruments that you put on patients’ teeth.
When starting out with Solea I had a one-minute speech prepared for all patients because it was new and some were skeptical about me using it on them. As time has gone on, my explanations aren’t as uniformed for every patient. I read the patient. If I have their trust, I explain very little at this point. If they are skeptical, I take my time with them. However, you ABSOLUTELY shouldn’t overexplain it. Tell the patient just enough to satisfy their curiosity. More explanation breeds confusion, which leads to doubt and will ultimately hurt the Solea experience.
My team is excellent at prepping the patients for their Solea experience. Hygienists typically assure the patient at recare, “We (or you) are so lucky to have Solea. Routine fillings are so easy with it. Not to mention you don’t need a shot before you go back to work.”
The front office team answers the phone, “Wendell Family and Laser Dentistry” which often gets the patients asking, “what are lasers used for?” They respond with, “It’s a wonderful, cutting edge technology that only a few dentists possess. We are lucky to have it.”
All of these small conversations are building towards a positive Solea experience once they finally get the treatment done. My only job is to not mess up what the team has already started.