What's going on?
You give patients all the information they should need but they still say "no."
Dentists can't understand why patients don't accept their treatment recommendations. After all, they explained everything logically and objectively. What's wrong?
Here's the answer:
If your patient is a robot, logic will get your the results you want. Otherwise, you're in trouble.
Patients often don't make treatment decisions based on what their minds tell them. They make them based on their emotions. Case acceptance increases dramatically when we appeal to those emotions.
Dentists need to first identify the treatment they can offer that will make the patient feel better on an emotional level. This may mean giving them a positive feeling or relieving them of a negative feeling like anxiety or embarrassment. The dentist then needs to help the patient realize that accepting the treatment will have this effect.
If the dentist finds that not only does the patient have to deal with treating a broken tooth, but also feels anxious about things getting worse, she can say:
"Gary, I think that when we finish the root canal and crown on this tooth, you'll be really happy that you don't have to worry about more bad things happening. How will that be for you?"
When the dentist determines that the patient doesn't smile because she's embarrassed by her dark fillings, he can say:
"Susan, how will you feel when you can smile without being embarrassed by the old fillings? Will that be fun for you?"
Bringing emotions into treatment discussion is an appropriate and effective way of increasing both case acceptance and the patient's oral health.