prepared to deal with these negative feelings and work
to put the patient at ease.
The Health Care Provider
The second factor in the contact point is the health
care provider. Your appearance, attitude, and behavior
will influence the patients attitude and the ultimate
outcome of the dental visit. You must always
recognize your obligation to give the best care that you
are capable of giving to every patient you see. This
care must reflect a belief in the worth and dignity of
every patient as a human being. Courteous, efficient,
attention to detail, and conscientious service are the
mark of an outstanding Dental Technician. Respect for
patients right to privacy must always be honored,
particularly when it involves privileged information to
you. Such information should never be repeated to any
unauthorized person. Your patients welfare is of the
The third factor at the contact point is physical
spaces of the dental clinic. Always keep all areas
clean, comfortable, and pleasantly decorated.
Reception areas should be supplied with current
literature and recorded music or a television. This will
help a patient to relax.
RECORDS AND RECEPTION
The records and reception area (front desk) is a
vital part of the dental treatment facility. To a very
large extent, this department is directly responsible for
the image of the dental service provided. It can
determine how the patients view the dental service, its
personnel, and the overall clinic operation. First
impressions are critically important, and it is in this
area of the clinic that patients most often have initial
contact, either in person or by telephone. The basic
functions of this area are to receive patients, decide
their treatment eligibility, schedule dental
appointments, and prepare and keep dental records.
Communication skills that are efficient and
effective is one of the most important parts of your job.
You must be a good communicator with others. When
communicating with patients, do not use technical
terms, rather use simple laymen terms that the patient
is familiar with and can understand. Avoid words that
might upset or frighten the patient. The table below
lists words to avoid, and suggestions for more
Saliva, Remove fluid
Extract or Pull
Pain or Hurt
Fake or False Teeth
Evacuate or Remove
Waiting Room or Lobby Reception Area
Be an effective listener, allow the patient to
explain the problem.
Dont jump to conclusions
without examining all the facts. Take special care with
patients who have hearing or speech disabilities. You
should speak slowly, distinctly, and loud enough at the
contact point to be heard easily. Eye contact is a must.
If you are talking to a patient and looking at something
else, this will relay to the patient that you are not giving
them your attention in the communication.
Body language is another important form of
It is nonverbal, but still can send
messages to the patient. It includes how you carry
yourself and move around the dental clinic. Gestures,
facial expressions, posture, attitudes, and tone of your
voice reflect your body language. If your patient is
grasping the arms of the dental chair, this might be an
indication that your patient may be tense.
expression, such as wincing of the eyes, are also
indicators that your patient may be uncomfortable.
When treating a patient, always watch for body
language and let the dental officer know if you see
anything peculiar. You should also be aware of your
own body language.
In the dental operatory, your
mouth will be covered with a face mask and the patient
will not see any expression from your mouth. If all of a
sudden, you open your eyes too wide, this might send a
message to the patient that something is wrong.
Remember your patient usually is looking at you and
the dentist when being treated. Pay attention to body
language so you do not convey a negative reaction to