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Dental Practice Solutions - Debbie Bittke

Dental Appointments. Your Patient’s Reason to Return

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 29, 2017

Dental Patients Reason to Return

Treatment Planning

How do you know what is valuable to your patient?

What is the benefit to your patient if they complete their dental treatment or return for their dental hygiene appointment routinely?

What is your patient’s reason to return?

Let’s think about when you will learn what is valuable to your patient.

When will you know what is valuable to your patient?

For new patients you will (or should) discover what is valuable to them during that first phone call to your office.

It is important to listen closely to the words your patient is saying and the way they say what they are saying. Do they speak loud or soft? Do they speak fast or slow? What is their tone as they speak?

Do they say things like, “Money is going to be my reason for completing this treatment I know I need.”

BTW: This is a comment from a walk-in new patient for an office (a client office) I was working with today.

Most of the time your patient will make their decision based on their value around time or money. These are the two main factors that come into play when patients are making a decision and it is your job to overcome these objections before they even are a stated objection.

Why many patients will not return to a dental office is due to fear of anxiety from a previous bad dental experience. This is another topic of conversation.

Patient Discovery 

When is the best time to discover what is valuable to your patient?

Answer: The first 2 minutes will be the most valuable time with building rapport and understanding your patients’ needs, what’s important to them and even how their day is going (ex: If they are rushed for time or having a stressful day!).

In fact, the first “Hello” and a handshake can tell you a lot about what kind of day your patient is having. This is where you can first begin to build (or re-establish) rapport.

This conversation can be as simple as “What are you doing this summer?”

If you were to ask me this question, I will tell you that I am going to an important high school reunion.

The topic of my conversation (If I am your patient today) will center around meeting up with old friends and wanting to look my best!

Now, it’s your turn as the clinician to open the door for me to look my best.

Do you have a special laser whitening offer going on?


Now is a great time to ask “Debbie, if there is one thing that we can do to make you look better than ever for you high school reunion, what would that be?”

Great question! And if I am your patient here is what I will tell you:

“I would love to have my teeth look youthful again. I want them whiter and also longer.”

Does your office have a special smile makeover process?

If so, now is a great time to talk about this process and how it can make me look my best for the summer high school reunion.

Complete the scheduled appointment, do an “initial” smile evaluation and then have me back for a 20 minute consultation later this week. At this consultation appointment you will have your treatment (or financial) coordinator discuss the smile makeover and work out the financial arrangements. Now you will schedule the treatment.

This special consult adds value to your patient appointment. The initial patient value you discovered is why this patient wants to return ASAP for the consultation and find out more information about how you can help her meet her needs.

Do you see how simple that can be to have your patient understand “their” important reason to return to your office?

When you think back to the last day of patients in your dental office, can you think about each patient’s personal reason to return to your office?

This is not a reason around what you “found” in their mouth. This important reason to return has to be a reason important to your patient. This is a value to your patient.

In closing today I want to ask you, “Do you know each patient’s important reason to return?”

We teach this system with our clients, their team and it becomes a part of every patient appointment. This is what we call the R2R and it becomes a part of each patients record.

One of Dentistry Today's top dental consultants

Debbie Seidel- Bittke, RDH, BS Dental Hygiene Consultant

           About Debbie

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is an international dental consultant, coach, speaker and author. She is also CEO of Dental Hygiene Solutions, powered by Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is a world-class leader in creating highly profitable hygiene departments. She is a well-known former clinical assistant professor at USC in Los Angeles and a former hygiene department program director. Dentistry Today recognizes Debbie as a Leader in Dental Consulting for the past 12 yrs.