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Reception Area Entertainment or Education?

Posted on March 31, 2011 | in Dental Care | by

Some people prefer the calming effects a fish tank can have; others like to flip through the latest issue of People® or ESPN® magazines. Kids and younger generations are generally known for tapping away at their mobile phones every chance they get, the dental office isn’t any different.

It is only the kids thumbing their phones, right?

Whether it’s pop culture, politics, sports, or hobbies, mobile phones are quickly becoming everyone’s media consumption mode of choice. Maybe a mobile app of a fish tank would be popular. Picture it; we walk into the dental office for our thrice yearly appointment, check-in at the reception desk, and rush to go pull up the latest greatest virtual fish tank. Then the fun begins, staring at fake fish on a 3” screen… ahh, the beginnings of a truly sublime dental experience.

We can do better.

Lots of dental practices have already taken the patient experience to a whole new level. Some reception areas have transformed from dental office to a high tech electronic showroom. Flat screen HD TVs, video gaming consoles for the kids, even a Xoom® or iPad® in the reception area, have all been reported.

The video games are only for the kids, right?

That’s all well and good for the news or entertainment fix, but what about the reason we’re at the dentist in the first place, isn’t it possible to communicate and absorb some important (if not entertaining) dental health information?

The ADA recently released Toothflix, a DVD patient education series aimed at letting us know what’s going on in our mouths, popular cosmetic options, and the oral connection to our overall health. The videos can also assist in explaining complicated treatments such as root canals, scaling and root planing, dental implants, or tooth extractions.

Research continues to yield results, and treatment methods continue to evolve as both technology and information present a clearer picture of optimum oral health. We can’t possibly keep up with everything, it’s up to the people we trust with our health care to disseminate and divulge the important information. The reception area, not to mention the chair, is where we can absorb that important dental health info. Will you tune in or out?

No matter what the dental office reception area evolves into, one thing can be certain. Dental patients will determine what stays and what goes. Share some of your reception area ideas and photos, the holographic fish tank wall accoutrement we’re developing is taking longer than expected and we’d like the help. You never know, your idea could be the next quantum leap in dental reception area entertainment and education – like the virtual fish tank app!

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+Chris Barnard is Managing Editor of, a patient-centric Social Dental Network blog dedicated to enabling the digital dental health conversation - and the eradication of the cavity creeps.
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