Australasian Dental Practice

Saturday, 25 May, 2024

31 Jan 2020 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 60

Treatment is only half the challenge

By Dr Michael Sernik

Delivering treatment is just 50% of the challenge. The other 50% is delivering information. Here's are three "wants" all dentists share:

  • I want my patients to make better treatment decisions for themselves.
  • I want them to return for routine care.
  • I want them to refer more friends and family.

If your patients are information-deficient, they'll disappoint you in these three vital areas. How can they make the proper decisions without the knowledge?

The chart on the right shows a list of just some of the messages dentists need to convey. Obviously, you don't need to say all these things to every patient, but all patients need to know some of these things.

Most dentists haven't figured out that they need a practical strategy for delivering information.

Now look at the following points in bold that you need to be able to convey:

  • If you want patients to make the best treatment decisions, they need to know the benefits of treatment and also the risks of under-treatment.
  • If you want them to keep coming back for regular checkups, they need to be convinced that regular care is worth the cost.
  • If you want them to be loyal to you and not go elsewhere, they need to believe you're their best choice of provider.
  • And if you want them to refer more friends, they need to have information that is worth repeating to their friends.

Like every element of running a business, you really need to have a well thought out strategy on something so vital.

So, what's your strategy? Is it hoping for the passive absorption of information or have you figured out something more predictable?

I have 2 suggestions: Use Your Team and Get Better Tools.

  1. Train your team on each of the topics listed so they can help convey these messages to patients. If the clinician is the only person conveying this information, you'll never make headway; and
  2. Use a video system that delivers this information passively in the waiting room and treatment rooms.

I've created Channel D specifically for this purpose. The videos cover most of the topics listed above and we're always adding new ones. If you find anything better that Channel D, I strongly suggest you use whatever works for you. You can view some of the videos by going to

Subscribe for a 2 month trial. Use Code MA56 to receive a Channel D Media Stick for no charge.

Dr Sernik is CEO of Subscribe to and they'll create custom videos for you, free of charge. Try it for 60 days and if you're not thrilled, you don't pay a thing. In addition, if you type in code MA56, you'll receive a FREE plug-n-play media player to get you up and running. See

Table 1. Messages dentists need to convey to patients

  • Explain why ceramic is better than plastic.
  • Discuss why mouth breathing is a problem.
  • Try to ask for referrals without looking needy.
  • Try to explain why you're interested in whether they snore.
  • Why replace back teeth.
  • Why we should do whitening before the crown.
  • Explain TMD and headaches.
  • Why gums bleed.
  • Why snacks at night are bad.
  • Explain pockets.
  • Why it's hard to clean with a hard brush.
  • The problem with food traps.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Dentures vs other solutions.
  • Deliver "why I hate old amalgams" speech.
  • How crowns strengthen teeth.
  • How veneers cover many problems.
  • The role of tongue and shape of face.
  • Denture problems.
  • Explain bone resorption and implants.
  • Oral-systemic link.
  • Why root canal treatment is needed.
  • Why the root surface is sensitive.
  • The baby didn't rot your teeth.
  • The latest on fluoride.
  • My scanner and how I use it.
  • Immediate implants.
  • Why wisdom teeth can be a problem.
  • When to start ortho.
  • Why ortho extractions can be a problem.
  • Hormonal effects in pregnancy.
  • Bottle feeding & tongue ties.
  • My latest post-grad qualification.
  • Why non-vital teeth need support.
  • Why we have an hygienist.
  • Our social media reviews.
  • Posture and bite.
  • Cause of bad breath.
  • Patient finance.
  • Knocked out teeth.
  • How retainers work.
  • Our snoring devices.
  • Our CAD CAM.
  • Lasers for snoring.
  • Lasers for perio.
  • Fissure seals.
  • Cracks in teeth.
  • High gum lines.
  • Cosmetic simulation.
  • Our insurance system.
  • Failed appointment policy.
  • Why teeth can hurt after fillings.
  • Why they got a dry socket.
  • How myofunctional therapy works.
  • Tongue ties.
  • How I reduce X radiation.
  • My amazing technology for improving bites.
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