Expert tips to assure dental patient satisfaction

Table of Contents


Most people are scared of going to the dentist because of dental phobia. Additionally, nobody wants drills and needles in their mouth and even the drill sound makes some people feel afraid.  Despite all these potentially negative conditions, the primary goal of dental treatment is to achieve maximum patient satisfaction. When patients are satisfied with their dental treatment and have a pleasant experience, they are motivated to take care of their dental health. Dental patient satisfaction is a little bit difficult because of the fear of dental treatment. However, it can be achieved by following some measures and tips as shown below.

What are the obstacles to achieving dental patient satisfaction? 

Understanding the obstacles in the way of attaining dental patient satisfaction is important before discussing the topic.

Dental phobia

Mostly, the patient who comes for dental treatment for the first time is anxious or has misconceptions about the treatment process. They might have heard about someone else’s bad dental treatment experience or might have got negative information from the internet about dental treatments. It is also possible that during their childhood, they might have had a bad treatment experience that stuck in their mind, or they saw family members going through a painful dental procedure. Therefore, knowing a patient’s perception of dental care is critical for establishing dental patient satisfaction.

Length of the procedure

Dental procedures can be tiring for patients if they have to keep their mouths open for longer periods. This experience can stop them from going to the dentist again, and they might ignore their dental problems until they become severe.

The severity of the dental disease

A severe dental disease like a hot tooth (extremely painful tooth that makes complete anesthesia challenging), severe periodontitis (gum disease), very deep impacted wisdom teeth, or a severe abscess (pus-filled infectious swelling) means that the patient might experience discomfort during dental treatment or after wisdom teeth removal, like postoperative pain and swelling. This might increase anxiety for further dental treatment and lessen patient satisfaction.

Unrealistic patient expectations

In esthetic procedures like cosmetic dentistry or orthodontic treatment, the patient’s psychology towards the treatment results plays a major role in reaching patient satisfaction. Patients who have unrealistic expectations of their dental treatment will never be satisfied because unrealistic results cannot be achieved.

Incomplete dental insurance knowledge

Dental treatment is very expensive and without insurance patient finances can be strained. Hence, knowing which procedures are covered by insurance and which are not is crucial. Patient satisfaction is difficult if patients have unclear ideas about their insurance coverage.

Quick facts about dental patient satisfaction

A study (Ali, 2016) was conducted on dental patient satisfaction and found that the following factors affect the degree of satisfaction.

Age of the patient

According to the study’s findings, people over 39 were less happy with the quality of their dental care than younger patients. This outcome could be attributed to younger patients’ better oral health status and their lower need for intensive dental care with fewer follow-up appointments than older patients. Younger patients may be more satisfied with the results and leave a better impression.


This study demonstrates that female patients indicated better satisfaction with dental care services than male patients. According to the researchers, this conclusion could be attributed to females’ higher exposure to dental treatments, which likely lowered their expectations.

Educational status of the patient

The results of this study showed that highly educated patients were less pleased with the dental services received. Patients who are better educated may have higher expectations of dental services and more understanding of the standard of dental care. However, some research has presented conflicting results on the relationship between patient happiness and education.

Other findings

Except for accessibility and the physical exterior of the reception or waiting rooms, the results of this study suggested that the degree of satisfaction with dental care services was quite high in the majority of the evaluated locations. 

What are the expert tips to achieve dental patient satisfaction?

Improve the quality of dental treatment

The dentist must be up to date on the latest technology and materials used in dentistry. This will help the dentist deliver the best quality treatment. Patients show high satisfaction with a high standard of dental treatment. In the past, many options for dental treatment were not available. But now, with advancing technology, there are many options available from which to choose. Additionally, emphasizing preventive dental care will also aid in patient satisfaction.

Use of scanners and intraoral cameras

Patients really enjoy dental treatment when they are shown their dental problems on the screen. This helps them to understand why they need the treatment and how they will be treated. When the operating dentist educates the patient on how they got the dental problem and how serious their dental problem is, the patient cooperates well in dental appointments, and this results in patient satisfaction.

Greeting the patient

The first impression is the last impression. If the patient is greeted nicely with a smile by the dentist and his team, the patient will feel comfortable. In addition to this, the availability of the dentist, short waiting times, and the nice and calm environment of the dental office also lower the patient’s anxiety and hence aid in patient satisfaction.

Delivering painless treatment

The best way to give patients a good dental experience is to give them pain-free treatment. With the correct anesthesia technique, effective dental anesthesia can be achieved. Additionally, sedatives can be given to anxious patients to comfort them throughout the procedure, especially during tooth extraction or other similar serious treatments. In order to relax your patients, recommend they listen to their favorite music on their headphones during treatment.

Setting the patient’s expectations

Patients should be asked about their expectations before starting the treatment. For example, before a wisdom tooth or implant surgery, the patient should be informed that after the procedure, pain and swelling on the face are expected and that it is normal. Before the esthetic procedure, they should be informed about the maintenance and care required to ensure the longevity of the treatment. Before orthodontic treatment, they should be informed about the need to wear a retainer to prevent relapse. The instructions should be given in written form. If the patient is aware of the pros and cons of the treatment and the importance of post-operative instructions, they will not have unrealistic expectations and will be satisfied after treatment.

Reducing procedure time

Patients will be highly satisfied if their treatment is done quickly. As a result, they will not feel tired and will develop a positive image of dental treatment. Longer procedures have a lower chance of resulting in satisfied patients.

Regular follow-up

Following up with the patient after treatment will ensure that they are satisfied with the dental service. Their concerns, queries, or complaints should be properly addressed before, during, and after the treatment.


To conclude, achieving dental patient satisfaction depends on a lot of factors. Good dental care, a pleasant dental office environment, friendly staff, and prompt service are just some of the things that make dental treatment worthwhile and lead to a satisfied and happy patient post-treatment.


Sharda Patel
Sharda Patel, DMD, graduated from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, United States. She is a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, and the American Dental Education Association. She is a general dentist at Dental Oasis, Family Dentistry, and has a strong focus on patient satisfaction and comfort.

Ali D. A. Ali. Patient satisfaction in Dental Healthcare Centers. Eur J Dent. 2016; 10(3): 309–314.

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