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The Chatty Patient

I have been at my office for almost 5 years and it seems like some of my patients love to chat with me during the hour I have them in my chair. I seem to struggle with interrupting their chatter in order to ensure that I will have a sufficient amount of time to do a thorough cleaning/appointment. How do I navigate some of these chatty patients without being rude? What are some nice and easy ways to shut the conversation down before I run over into my next appointment?



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1 Answer

This is a tough one because you don’t want to be rude, but you have work to do! I searched online for “Talkative Patients” and there were several articles, some with tips that may help, others not so much. One decent article I found was for photographers, which may help a bit:
 
https://psychologyforphotographers.com/rein-in-talkative-clients
 
I also found this study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27189094
 
What I tend to do when a patient won’t slow down the chit-chat is give them hints. For instance, I shorten my responses, as not to prolong the conversation, and “sit at the ready.” By that I mean, holding insruments up, near their mouth, giving them the hint that treatment needs to begin or proceed. It doesn’t always work, but its worth a try!

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