Posted .

Are you using soft skills to create powerful word pictures for your patients?

If you’ve been in dentistry for as long as I have, you could retire if you had a dollar for every time you heard a patient say some form of “I think I should just get my teeth taken out and get a denture.” Don’t say that only happens in Texas. When I poll my audience in a seminar, no matter where I am in the US, there is a portion of people who say this to their provider. It’s because the public perception is that dentures replace teeth. This statement is accurate, but not true. I know this sounds like an oxymoron. Let me explain.

The public perception is that dentures replace teeth.

Often people with a history of lots of dental treatments or unattractive teeth see the TV ads that show a glowing, beautiful smile at a candlelight dinner- complete with steak, corn on the cob, and salad. What it should say is, “she looks great, but she can’t eat!” I recognize that we’ve all had patients in our past who were successful wearing a denture or dentures. But, we should also be willing to admit that for years we weren’t as good at helping them understand some critical details. Details and word pictures that I now teach in my seminars and online learning. Most important is that the only reason the bone in their face from nose to chin is there is because teeth (and roots) are there. In other words, dentures replace NO TEETH not YOUR TEETH. This is what I share regularly with patients who seem confused about what they will (and will not) have by choosing a treatment plan of only a denture to replace teeth.

Dentures replace NO TEETH not YOUR TEETH.

“Your teeth, Ms. Patient, have roots, dentures do not have roots.” This is where we are thrilled to share with patients that we now know there is a better way. “Today, the doctor will be talking to you about replacing the roots and the teeth.” A dental implant is a man-made root, as defined in my first book. “And then we will put man-made teeth on top (also in my book). Now, you just need to decide if you want removable teeth or non-removable teeth.”

When we use soft skills to create a picture or image with patients in mind, we help them see the possibilities as well as the consequences. The truth is I absolutely love being in the role of comprehensive care coordinator in my husband’s dental practice. There are so many opportunities I have to share in better detail than ever before, thanks to the bone models (we LOVE Salvin Dental for these great tools), implant and tooth models, CT Scans, photographs, videos or whatever and however the patient wants to receive the data. Keep in mind that 65% of learning is visual! Let’s give our patients a word-picture or image to focus on while they learn the treatment options.

ACTION ITEM: Watch this video to learn how to explain dentures vs. implants to your patients.

We’ve come a long way from plugging amalgams in the palm of our hands (with no gloves) and not wearing masks or eye protection. We also believed for a while that dentures functioned just as teeth do. This was no more true than it is to believe that someone could see out of a glass eye. Now, we can prove and share with patients through science and soft skills that dentures are only a replacement for “no teeth”, not “their” teeth. Are you and your team using soft skills to create greater value for care and a better connection with your patients?

When you’re ready, we’re here to help!

See you on the road,