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Article: Volume 44 Number 8 Page 774 - September 2017

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  Dent Update 2017; 44: 774-780

Communication in Dentistry:  The Importance of Communication in Dentistry

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Abstract: Good communication between patient and dentist is associated with increased efficiency and more accurate diagnosis, improved patient outcomes and satisfaction and less likelihood of complaints or litigation. Communication is also a complex (and clinical) skill but, interestingly, its importance is not always accepted or valued, either by students or those with more experience. The aim of this paper is to review the evidence about communication within the context of the dental setting. The need for good communication generally is considered, as is its role in managing anxious patients and in avoiding misunderstanding. Ways in which communication skills can be assessed and updated are also discussed.

Clinical relevance: Dentists who spend time communicating effectively with their patients and colleagues are likely to have better interpersonal relationships and a more satisfying working life. This, in turn, is likely to make consultations more efficient and improve patient outcomes.

Author notes: Andrea Waylen, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences, School of Oral and Dental Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS1 2LY, UK.

Objective: To review the psychological and healthcare literature concerned with communication in a dental context.