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How to build success in dentistry

As human being we have an extraordinary skill that we could use more and better when we are practicing: communication.

19 April, 2024

Why do many dentists fail to achieve their potential? Why is it that many dentists never get a chance to create a long-lasting success they want?  And why is it, that only a handful of people, truly understand what it takes to create a happy life through dentistry?

The answer is simple. They understand the secret. By the end of this post, I hope to share with you that secret and give you ideas that will help you on your journey to success.

As dentists we are poorly trained in the art of communication


As dentists we are highly educated and trained to be clinically competent.  We have spent many hours beating on our craft, to deliver outstanding care.  But yet, we are poorly trained in the art of communication.  Furthermore, we somehow have failed to grasp the simple concept that creates trusting relationships between ourselves and our patients.

What if I told you success was only a conversation away?

On average, clinicians tend to interrupt their patients within 15 seconds. Seldom do we listen attentively. As human beings, we often tend to jump to conclusions and we feel that we may know the answer to a given problem within a few seconds of information. But what if I told you, success was only a conversation away?

Every day we have a slogan that we repeat to our patient as they are welcomed into our facilities. We openly express to them that ‘the day is about them’. And to convey this message, before starting my consultations, I often invite my patients to have a pre-clinical interview with myself. This is a sacred time, in which I get to know my patients more personally.  The theme here is simple. It is not about me, it’s about them. 

There should be no interruption while your patient speaks

The language you should be using to approach this conversion is simple and clear. The aim is to create a comfortable experience, so with that in mind, be patient and speak in a calm lower tone voice. Smiling is encouraged. I would recommend asking questions about their lives, their values, their goals and their expectations.

There should be no interruption while they speak. I simply sit back and smile and let the patient feel comfortable to share. And if I must speak, I make sure that I only asked questions related to what they have just disclosed. I make the effort to ask 5 questions about what they are discussing. Under no circumstances do I avoid this process.

To become the dentist who listens and cares is what sets you apart

This shows that you listened to understand, and not simply to respond. The patient feels valued and accepted. A bridge of trust is built between them and yourself. And as a dentist, you will be able to discover countless information that will help you recommend the correct and most appropriate treatment for your patients.

It’s worth noting that patients associate discomfort and pain with visiting the dentist. By taking the time to make them feel heard, you disassociate impersonality from your care. Your reassurance will be perceived much more effectively. Very quickly you will become the dentist who listens and cares. This is what sets you apart. This is how patients will trust to accept your recommended treatments. This is how you create a long-lasting relationship and thus success through dentistry.

I urge you to apply this to your personal life. Next time you find yourself in a conversation, take a moment and remind yourself that it’s not about you.  Ask questions about what the other person is discussing.  It won’t be long until you realise that people will enjoy speaking with you and sharing information with you. Information is valuable and the opportunities are embedded in the information. Now you see that success is only a conversation away.



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