What better way to improve the interactions with your patients than with a smile?

‘Smile if you’ve had it lately’ were the words on a bumper sticker my father slapped onto the back of our Ford Escort during the 1970s. I believe it was an advert by a local garage for car servicing. Not a man given to crude innuendo, I look back and am mortified at my dad’s idea of a joke – but am pretty sure the cheeky message raised a few smiles. Now, wouldn’t that make a fabulous tagline for a dental practice and its services?

World Smile Day

World Smile Day is celebrated this week. It was the brainchild of Harvey Ball, an American commercial artist who created the ubiquitous smiley face in 1963. The much-recognised symbol has had a profound influence on our lives ever since – thanks more recently to social media, text messaging and the proliferation of emojis.

However, Ball, concerned about the over-commercialisation of his symbol, came up with the idea of World Smile Day to encourage people to devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts.

We all welcome a smile, especially when stressed – and dental nurses are not only in the business of creating healthy ones but are also public-facing ambassadors of the profession. There is a huge expectation upon you to create a friendly first impression in an industry not known for its positive public perception.

It may be tough at times, but a smile really does conquer the toughest of customer attitudes. We all need something to positively trigger our thoughts, senses and actions when we’re feeling fraught, ill or worried – and nowhere is this more relevant than in a dental practice.

In the increasingly competitive world of dental health care, a practice now needs to promote itself in the same sassy style as any other commercial business. Practices cannot afford to get left behind, remain staid and prescriptive, or, indeed, come under fire in an increasingly ‘TripAdvisor’-esque world of online feedback forums.

Shop window

You are therefore at the forefront of your practice’s shop window and should welcome patients with a massive desire for them to be on side in an environment hugely pressurised. You may often take the brunt of the day-to-day challenges. Many people demand your time – from dentists and receptionists to dental labs, suppliers and reps and, of course, your patients. A smile goes a long way – it’s very difficult to remain angry when anyone smiles at you. It’s a reminder that we’re all human – even tricky patients and busy dental teams.

In the meantime, enjoy our October issue, which focuses on the importance of work/life balance – and how to embrace the healthy option. Your smile is just a part of it!