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Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is known as a top dental consultant by Dentistry Today.

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What’s the Secret to Successful Dental Treatment Plans?

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

September 15, 2016

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All successful dental treatment plans really depend upon the person who is involved in the treatment plan.

The idiom “Different strokes for different folks,” can be used to explain a successful patient treatment plan.

What I saying here is that it really depends upon the person delivering the message to the patient as well as what is going on with your patient that day and generally, in their life.

  • Are you speaking to a stressed-out, anxious patient?
  • Did your patient just lose their job or are they going through a divorce?
  • Are they having a bad day?
  • Are you running late and feeling rushed?
  • Are you having a bad day?

Everyone has their own biases, life-experiences and even just plain ‘ole “baggage.” Life gets in the way of how we react, the  messages we might deliver to our patients and what the patient may hear: the good and the bad.

There is no secret sauce to the question about successful treament plans. Bottomline: people buy what they want not what they need.

So the question lies inside this: “How do we get our patients to want the services we offer?”

Your Steps to Success and Getting Them to “YES!”

Let’s reverse engineer this.


Imagine that you are doing a remodel on your home. Do you begin with an architect or an interior designer? How do you know the best place in your blue print to design the kitchen and the bathrooms? Where do you put the garage? Should you have floor to ceiling windows or sliders? Are hardwood floors or tile the best option?


In order to create a plan for your patient, you need information and there is a best time during the patient appointment to get that information.

Ponder this:

How does your patient feel inside that day? Are they having a good day or a bad day?

How will your patient feel after they leave your office?

As a dental hygiene consultant, I believe that the first “hello” will make or break the opportunity for you to get your patient to “YES!”

When you greet your patients, do you stand behind the door and call your patients name or do you walk out into the reception area, shake your patients hand and provide a warm welcome? I am referring to old and new patients; young and old.

When your patient is seated in the chair, at what point do you recline them back in the chair to begin your assessments and the patient service (Prophy, scaling and root planing, etc.)?

You can use all the elegant communication skills you know but if you don’t follow the appropriate steps before you present the patients treatment you will not be as likely to have patients schedule and pay for treatment.

Imagine this like a baby who will crawl before they walk and walk before they run.

The best part; what makes life easier for dental professionals, is when you have spent time to dial into the patient experience and a down-to-a-science plan for how you treat all of your patients.

There is a specific system the entire team needs to create to improve your percentage of patients who will schedule and pay for treatment.

Just like you probably watched team sports in the recent Olympics, dentistry is also a team sport.

Hmmm….Maybe there is a secret.

Let me rephrase what could be a well-kept secret: Every member of your team needs to be working toward the same goal: “Creating longer, healthier lives, beautiful smiles and a rewarding career for dental professionals.