How to talk to patients

The technical ‘dental’ element is only one part of a dentist’s job – arguably communication forms the largest part of the role. Without effectively being able to communicate with your patients (and team), they will not be educated about the importance of oral health care and will not uptake your recommended course of treatment(s).

Your mindset

Earning your patients' trust as their oral hralth care expert is where you need to focus your attention. By talking to your patients about the services and treatments that you can provide them, doesn't make you a pushy sales person - it shows that you are knowledgeable, that you have your patient's best interests at heart and that you are there to help them.

By changing your mindset to always approach a situation from the patient’s perspective you will ultimately have a more successful practice.

Mutual respect


Yes, as a dentist you are important. But so too are your patients. Without your patients you wouldn’t have a job. So, keep checking that your attitude towards your patients is one of mutual respect.

Although this may be the 15th patient you’ve seen today be careful that your demeanour and body language remains consistently positive. It’s about making each patient feel valued and not just a number that you’re herding through the door.

Your manner


It is so important to address patients by their name. We can feel like a non-entity when we’re not addressed by our name, so to have any chance of building a trusting, long-term relationship with a patient – use their name!
Many patients believe dentists are unapproachable and intimidating, so check in with yourself that your manner is friendly. Be warm but not too over-familiar. Show empathy towards your patients and treat each and every one as an individual. In order for a patient to be compliant, to visit you regularly and recommend your practice to their friends and family, they must trust you and feel that you value them.

De-mystify dental speak


Keep patients informed and be clear with your communication. It doesn’t mean that you’re being condescending when you simplify a treatment explanation; it means that you are engaging with your patient and ensuring that they understand fully what it all means for them. Will it hurt? How long will it take? How much will it cost? – These are the questions that a patient wants answered.

Your Marketing


Marketing is about creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value to another party.

Ensure that your marketing communications are benefit focused - the patient will always be thinking ‘what does this mean for me?’ so ensure that your practice marketing collateral answer these questions. Communicate consistently and frequently with your patients to ensure valuable relationships are built and maintained.

If you have any questions regarding IndepenDent Care Plans or need help on how to communicate the benefits of your plan to patients, then please just give us a call on 01463 223399 – we’d be delighted to help.