Top 5 ways to get patients to accept treatment

July 15, 2013
Elizabeth Nies, RDH
Elizabeth Nies, RDH

Issue 6

Want to improve case acceptance in your practice? Check out these must-read tips.

Want to improve case acceptance in your practice? Check out these must-read tips.

1. Ask if you’re meeting their needs

Check in with your patients at the beginning of every appointment to find out what their long-term oral health goals are and what you can do to help get them there. Patients are much more comfortable talking about cosmetic desires if you bring it up.

2. Show don’t just tell

Make your intraoral camera part of every new patient exam. At the end of their new patient visit take them on a tour of their mouth. Remember to let the patient do the talking. By the time you get to the last photograph they will be talking about all the things they want to change.

3. Find out what’s holding them back

Too often dentists assume patients aren’t accepting treatment because they can’t afford it. While that may be part of it, fear and not understanding the treatment’s value may also play a role. Review any long standing treatment plans and ask the patient why he or she hasn’t gone forward. Address any fears they have and educate. If money is the concern, remind them the cost of fixing the problem will only increase with time.

4. Keep the focus on the patient

When discussing treatment options or findings, always keep the patient in the center of it in the “power triangle.” The doctor is in front of the patient with the hygienist/assistant next to the patient on the other side. Keep eye contact so the patient can nonverbally be part of the conversation. If there are a lot of questions or if the discussion seems to be turning into a larger case, move the patient to a consultation area or make another appointment to discuss treatment.

5. Remember it’s not your decision

Listen to patient cues and what they think about their smile. It’s ultimately their decision to make, so take the time to give them all their options and listen to their questions and concerns. Give them what they need to make the right decision for their overall health; don’t try to decide for them.

Want more advice on how to improve case acceptance in your practice? Watch this Morning Huddle video featuring Jameson Management: