When we meet strangers it takes just a few seconds to form a first impression, and often it’s a lasting one. In many aspects of personal and professional life, a good first impression is crucial, regardless of whether it’s for landing a dream job or making new friends. 

Survey results show that the same goes for visiting a new dental practice. The majority of survey participants believe first impressions are (very) important and provide a reliable indication about the quality of dental care. Over half of respondents point out that hygiene is the most noteworthy characteristic for a good initial impression. 

Find out more insights on why dental practices should make first impressions count in the infographic below:

Download Infographic

How much first impressions matter

First, let’s look at what exactly is first impression. In psychology, it is defined as the initial perceptions and evaluation of another person, and it tends to be lasting.

With regard to dental practices, 97% of respondents consider that their first impressions are important. Furthermore, the majority of survey participants believe that the initial perception is a good clue about the quality of dental care. Other studies on the topic in the medical field, suggest that first impressions leave a strong mark on the doctor-patient relationship. These results may be explained with the powerful influence of first impressions over subsequent information. There are different points of view on this phenomenon. One premise is that first impressions carry more weight in the perceiver’s mind than later information. Another is that they shape the meaning of subsequent perceptions. In any case, it is hard to overlook their significance.

Which characteristics of a dental practice make a good first impression

Hygiene is the most important aspect of dental practice for a good first impression according to over 50.50% of patients. This result is not surprising if we take into account the nature of dental care. However, it may come as a surprise that interactions with the staff did not make it to the most popular answers, whereas other aspects of the premises and location were mentioned. This should not be taken that staff members have less significance as it may also be that patients do not think of non-physical factors in reference to a dental office.