How to Turn an Emergency into an Opportunity
There is an understandable tendency in this situation to just put on the blinders and look only at the emergency. After all, the patient didn’t come in for a comprehensive exam, they came because of an urgent need, and you have a schedule to try to get back on track. It’s easy to see why the mindset, for you and for the patient, could be: Let’s just get this done as quickly as possible.
But there is another way to look at it. As long as the patient is in the chair in front of you why not make the most of the situation and take the opportunity as a professional, to do a quick evaluation of their oral health condition beyond whatever issue brought them in?
When you do this, you can present your findings in a way that acknowledges the constraints you are both under but opens the door to further exploration. For instance: “I know you don’t have a lot of time to be in a dental chair and I know you’d like to avoid this kind of emergency visit in the future. So I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I can see issues here that I can help you with. I’m going to take some time to explain what I see, and if necessary, we can arrange to have you back.”
This is how you can leverage greater value out of an unexpected visit and give yourself a chance to educate the patient on ideal care—and you don’t even have to do anything special. You just have to take the emergency blinders off and allow yourself to see the possibilities.