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Presenting the Implant Case: What’s Your Patient Really Thinking?

December 16, 2022 Author: Karen Young

Do you ever wonder what your patients are thinking? Are they listening to you? They appear to be engaged in what you are telling them, but are they going to proceed with the dental implant therapy you propose? If you have, you are not alone.

Clearing Your Mind

It is very common to wonder what the patient is considering, while you suggest dental implants and a fixed prosthesis that will cost them upwards of $40k. You are ready to present the fee, yet you say, “Wow, this treatment costs more than that new car I have been looking at.” For all the ways you imagine yourself spending that amount of money, so does your patient.

So let us clear our minds about that new car and the trip we have longed to take with our family. Instead, think about dental implants and the positive ways this treatment option will impact our patient’s life. Will your patient still think about that new sports car? Of course. But now that we know it’s coming, we can guide them away. Acknowledge it, and then steer away.

Bringing Patients Back on Track

So, how do we get our patients to think as we do? We could send them to dental implant seminars, but we all know that won’t happen. We need to bring the seminar to them. That seminar is YOU, with all your knowledge.

Times have changed. Access to a computer and the internet now allows your patients to research and compare the information you provide them. We need to be prepared to do so.

Provide Patient Options

If I may offer you some golden advice, it’s this:

  • Ensure you have presented all options to your patient, itemizing the one your doctor recommends as the best option and why.
  • List the pros and cons of each treatment option. I use what I call the Option Sheet, where you list 4 to 5 options with their pros and cons.
  • Please provide a copy for your patient to take home with them. There are no fees on this sheet, merely the treatment recommendations, and the pros and cons. Now when they go home and go online to research “placement of 4 implants with an overdenture,” you have covered bar-retained, o-rings, and acrylic versa porcelain. The pros and cons you have listed will help remind them why this treatment option is suitable for them or not.

Once you have presented your patient with their treatment options, they should focus entirely on their oral health.

Building Patient Rapport

The next step is to build a connection with your patient. This is called building rapport. The level of your connection with your patient will vary from patient to patient as each person is different in character. Take notes, and remember what triggers them. Why are they sitting across from you today? It is not because they want IMPLANTS. It is because they want TEETH. They want to be able to smile, speak properly, eat in public and enjoy improved self-esteem and confidence.

Examine Your Motives

So put aside your monthly production goals and any personal motives for wanting your patients to say YES to the treatment you propose. We want the patient to say “Yes” because we know the end result is priceless. By entering into this relationship with them, guiding them through the surgeries, and being there to share their concerns and fears, we can help them regain their self-esteem.

The Importance of Empathy

Empathy is essential when discussing treatment cases. This compassion you demonstrate will enable your patients to feel connected to you. It will help them feel safe and encourage them to ask questions that may otherwise hinder their decision to proceed.

Once you have agreed to guide them through the process, remember you never truly let go. They will always be a part of your journey in this chosen career. Believe in what you do, and your patients will believe in you. Any questions your patient may have had before the consultation should now be understood, and they should feel safe and assured they are in the right place.

Closing the Case

Your patients now experience a connection with you and sense the confidence you exude. You have just closed the case!