Dos and don'ts for patient relationships: Partner with patients to provide better care

2016 08 12 10 54 04 370 Practice Success 400

You may talk about how committed you are to your patients, but do you demonstrate it in every interaction with everyone who comes to your practice for oral healthcare? Many dentists and staff members have trouble conveying their true concern for patients' well-being -- especially when having a very busy or stressful day.

One way to make your commitment clear is by treating patients like partners in maintaining, restoring, and improving their oral health.


Invite patients into the decision-making process. You're the dental expert, but patients are the ultimate decision-makers. Communicate this to them, explaining that your role is to provide the professional guidance and clinical skills they need if they want to enjoy the benefits of excellent dentistry. Say "we" rather than "I" when discussing proposed treatment, and ask what they think when you explain cosmetic and other elective procedures. These signs of respect will illustrate your commitment to meeting their needs.


Don't assume they won't understand clinical matters. Explain them in simple terms. If patients ask you to explain technicalities, don't just resort to clinical jargon. Find ways to simplify the subject. Use visual aids (including drawings you make for them). This effort shows them how committed you are.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group, the leading dental practice consulting firm in North America. For the complete list of dates and locations where you can attend his latest seminar, visit

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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