Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the relations between patients' and dentists' communicative behaviour and their satisfaction with the dental encounter.
Participant: The sample consisted of 90 patients receiving emergency care from 13 different dentists.
Basic research design: Consultations were videotaped in order to assess dentists' and patients' communicative behaviour. Dentists' behaviour was coded by means of the Communication in Dental Setting Scale (CDSS), scores for patients' behaviour included among other things, the number of questions asked during the consultation.
Main outcome measures: After treatment, patients filled out a questionnaire that assessed their satisfaction with their own and their dentist's communicative behaviour. Dentists also filled out a satisfaction questionnaire after each consultation.
Results: Results showed that dentists' satisfaction could not be explained by patients' or dentists' communicative behaviour. Patients' satisfaction was mainly influenced by the communicative behaviour of the dentist.
Conclusion: Not only is patients' satisfaction positively related to the communicative behaviour of dentists, but the principle of informed consent requires dentists also to inform their patients adequately enough for them to reach a well-informed decision about the treatment. Therefore, it remains important to train dentists in communicative skills.