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  • Carla Collier

Treatment Acceptance is a Team Event

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

Take your treatment acceptance to the NEXT LEVEL:

  • by building relationships that last a lifetime

  • with verbiage that makes a difference

  • using consistent messages during handoffs

Start with building relationships that last a lifetime!

Always start by treating the patient as you would want to be treated and remember it is about them. We need to help the patients understand the overall importance of their oral health. Educating the patient is vital. Always educate, never sell. Once you have educated them you need to make it personal for them. Truly care about your patient and associate things like I would hate for you to have a toothache this weekend while you are out of town.

For many years I have said your oral health affects our systemic health. I recently heard it presented as oral health is a systemic problem with a dental solution. Wow! That was a game changer. I have never heard it said better.

Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do and your patients will grow to love you and your team which will create a lifelong bond of trust.

Verbiage makes a difference. Think of a time when you have called or been at an appointment, it could be a dentist or doctor appointment. Know what words pumped you up and got you excited about your health and moving forward with treatment and what words shut you down and made you lose interest or feel like a failure. What was the tone of the person you were speaking with? Could you hear a smile in their voice? Did you think he or she was really nice or think he or she needs better training?

While there are many words we should avoid, I will tell you that the small three letter word “BUT” becomes a large negative. Instead of saying you need a crown on that tooth, but you will need to have a root canal first try saying something like the tooth will need a root canal and crown. We will get you scheduled for the root canal and crown appointments before you leave today.

When talking about money use the word benefits instead of insurance and the word investment or instead of the cost. Remember they are investing in their overall health.

Be consistent. We all need to hear things multiple times (it can all be in different formats but the same end result) for the message to be retained. Always include your patient in their treatment decisions and use their names when doing hand offs to other team members.

Think of it like this, the hygienist asks the patient if they have any dental concerns or if there is anything they would like to change about their smile. The patient states they have a tooth in the back that has started causing them discomfort. The hygienist should acknowledge and assure the patient that he or she will be sure to let the doctor know when they come in for the exam. When the hygienist is cleaning in the area that is bothering the patient, they should be sure to acknowledge the patients concern again. Acknowledge and ask questions to assure the patient the doctor will give them treatment recommendations during their exam. When the doctor enters the room verbally repeat what the patient’s concern is and have the doctor look at the area. If treatment is needed the doctor should say it out loud to the hygienist to add to the treatment plan while the patient is still leaned back in the chair. Once the exam is completed sit the patient up and have the doctor review the findings and needed treatment.

At that point you will ask the patient if they any questions about the treatment. When asking that question be sure to address the treatment as the doctor stated it, “ the crown“ that the doctor discussed. If the patient has questions be sure to address them. When dismissing the patient from your room walk with them to the checkout area and let the person checking them out know what was discussed in the hygiene room during the doctor exam. You will then walk away stating to Mr. Patient, I am leaving you in good hands here with “Jan” (the front desk person) she will be glad to answer any additional questions and will get you scheduled for the crown. The front desk then reviews recommended treatment, the patient’s investment in their health and gets the patient scheduled.

If your office has a treatment plan coordinator you can adjust the ideas above to work in your office. These are just a few ways that treatment acceptance is a team event. For more ideas and additional verbiage please contact me.


Carla Collier, Consultant

Carla’s journey in Dentistry has been vast and covering over 19 years of dedication and support to both patients and dental offices. For doctors and staff, Carla has helped dental offices build from the ground up while maintaining staff without turnover and promoting teamwork. Carla uses her vast experience in the profession to implement systems for dental practice growth and team building which is extremely important. She is also very good in nurturing long-lasting patient relations.

Carla can be reached at:

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