Types of patients in the dental practice

Every day, a number of patients cross the threshold of the dental surgery.

There are different typologies that need to be addressed individually.

The doctor must be empathetic, have optimal solutions for each situation, and the patient must be open to cooperation, assuming a free, open discussion, which will streamline treatment sessions and give the doctor the opportunity to make an accurate anamnesis and a treatment plan as detailed as possible.

The doctor will approach each patient with solicitude, without preferential regimes, trying to understand the temperament and character of each patient. The patient’s psychology is an aspect taken into account, with pre-eminence, in dental ethics.

Most of the time, patients come to the dentist’s office when they feel pain or are bothered by some aspect of their teeth.

Anxiety, fear, various reservations, but also the urgency to remove pain or the desire to achieve exceptional aesthetic results arise, and the dentist must adapt to each type of behavior.

Communication is therefore an essential part of the therapeutic process.

The patient is asked to bear in mind that, beyond the white coat, he is still human.

Throughout the dental experience, the dentist encounters a wide range of characters. For the therapeutic act to evolve, there must be a ‘partnership’ from the outset.

Types of patients

Authoritarians: They are highly self-confident, dominant and authoritative, independent, energetic and sometimes, because of these qualities, may lack empathy towards medical staff.

The doctor must be willing to listen to what the patient says and offer solutions in accordance with the patient’s requirements. Authoritarian patients want to believe that they can make the choice themselves, but it is absolutely necessary to listen to the dentist’s advice, as the dentist has the medical competence to guide and provide treatment plans.

Antisocial: They are labelled as cold, serious, critical and a little reserved, not trusting the dentist. They are vulnerable patients who need special attention and patience to make them understand that the treatment is in their favor and not against them.

They are vigilant and always try to look for back-up plans, thinking they will suffer disappointment following their visit to the surgery. They question the doctor’s character and feel that they are being deceived and that they are victims of the therapeutic act.

Indifferent: They are quite cold and do not get as involved as they should in decision-making. Unpredictable, they establish a distance from the medical staff from the outset, leading to an immediate loss of trust and poor communication over time.

They do not follow the dentist’s instructions, do not carry out their tasks, do not keep appointments and tend to put off every event. Again, the doctor has to be patient to gain the trust of patients, who often have low self-esteem.

Dependents: These patients are passive, do not actively participate in decision-making, have low self-esteem and are always looking for emotional support and are dependent on medical staff. They find it very difficult to make a decision, are never sure and have no clear vision of the outcome of dental treatment.

The doctor must be optimistic and explain each dental operation in detail.

It is important to point out each time when a therapeutic success is achieved. In cases where the treatment does not go according to plan, due to complications that may arise, he or she must reassure the patient that all will be well and the treatment will have the expected result.

Sociable: They represent the ideal of character, in terms of communication, they are open, cooperative, they consider the proposed treatment solutions, thoroughly and seriously considering the doctor’s recommendations.

They are also those who do not neglect the human aspect of the medical relationship and take into account that they are, after all, a person and not a machine. The sociable patient understands the steps to be taken, fearlessly asks questions when something is unclear and the treatment proceeds smoothly.

The ideal communication involves the bilateral participation of both dentist and patient. Patience, understanding and respect must be mutual for the therapeutic approach to have optimal results.

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