What Are You Really Saying To Dental Patients?

If you want to create stronger connections with your patients and have more people accept your recommendations for dental treatment, consider becoming fluent in body language.  Most of our communication occurs non-verbally.  We pay attention to how others communicate much more than the actual words.

body language1

I’ve worked with many dentists and teams through the years on how to increase treatment acceptance, and we always start with body language.  Here are three tips that will make your non-verbal communication even stronger.

First, make sure your mask is off at the end of the exam when communicating treatment recommendations to patients.  Dentists literally send the non-verbal message that they may be hiding something when part of their face is covered.  It’s not the Wild West.  Talk to a patient just like you would a friend.

Second, if you want to improve your connection with patients and increase the likelihood they will follow your recommendations, make sure you are talking to them at eye level.  It’s hard to communicate when the patient is supine and staring up at the dead bug in your light fixture.  Patients also find it intimidating when dentists tower over them.  Always set you patients up and talk to them at eye level.

Finally, do not get in the sprinter’s stance after asking if the patient has any questions.  No one will ask and an alarming percentage of patients will leave the operatory confused.  Confused patients do not schedule.  Invite questions with a smile and with a relaxed posture.


The performance artist Terry Galloway once said, “Deafness has left me acutely aware of both the duplicity that language is capable of and the many expressions the body cannot hide.”  Patients are also acutely aware of what you tell them non-verbally.  Fine-tune how you communicate and you will improve treatment acceptance and the overall growth of your practice.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.