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Dr. Rhonda R. Savage

"There's Power in the Pounce!" Words Matter

Avoid words that devalue dentistry:Watch, wait, small, little, just and only.”

Training and Coaching: 

The entire team can benefit from training sessions with the intraoral camera.  Doctor:   have three 15-20 minute sessions, and talk about he or she sees with intraoral photographs. Doctors:  What do you want your staff to say?

The assistant and hygienist should be using the intraoral camera and talking about what is seen.  In the staff’s hands, it’s perceived as educational. The team member can tell the patient, “I love this camera!  It’s so great because it gives you the opportunity to ‘look over the doctor’s shoulder’ and see what she sees!”

After three intraoral camera-training sessions with the doctor, do a role reversal and you talk to the doctor about what you see and what you think the doctor may recommend.  Ask for feedback and coaching from the doctor.  – End Summary

The entire team needs training on verbal skills.   If you have a front desk person who hasn’t worked in the back, he or she should observe every procedure from set up to clean up. She’ll be better able to answer patient’s questions and also be a better scheduler.
80% of treatment acceptance falls down with financial arrangements.

What should the team be prepared to discuss?

  • Routinely ask patients how they feel about their smile.  This opens the door for questions regarding cosmetic options.  Talk about:  Diastemas, crowded, rotated, yellow teeth and teeth with uneven incisal edges.
  • The importance of replacing missing teeth.
  • The replacement of old, worn out amalgams or composites.
  • Staff should be addressing fractures in teeth and talking about night guards and the prevention of broken teeth.
  • The value of sealants.
  • The importance of periodontal health as it relates to the overall health of the patient. For a PDF of my article:  “Getting There Early!” e-mail me

More training:

There are three sets of “Verbal Cue Cards” you should develop or you can obtain from the website:
  • Pre and Post Treatment Explanations
  • The answers to the commonly asked patient questions
  • The advantages and disadvantages for the patient for all of your common procedures.
Your team is key in patient’s case acceptance. 

The patient will never be more excited about saying: “yes!” to the treatment they need and deserve than you are! Be more direct and outline the short and long-term benefits of having each procedure. Tell the patients what can happen if they don’t proceed with the treatment.
Remind each team member:  “If it’s to be, it’s up to ME!”
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