Do They Trust You?

I recently came across this quote again after reading it years ago.

“Trust emerges when we sense that a person or organization is driven by things other than their own self-gain.”

We all want to trust and we all want to be trusted.

Despite a 2012 Gallop poll showing Dentists in the Top 5 of most trusted professions, I frequently hear dental professionals expressing fear that patients won’t trust their treatment recommendations. This fear may be rooted in many different areas such as fear of rejection, lack of belief in value and the list goes on. Have you ever felt this way?

When you are driven by things other than your own self-gain, it comes through loud and clear. So how does this show up on a day-to-day basis in your dental world?

Here are a few things to practice:

1)  When you use language with patients that is about ‘your protocol’ it’s about your own self-gain (compliance with your protocol). When you use language with your patients that is all about them, it becomes apparent that your focused on something other than your own self-gain.


‘You’re due for x-rays today’.

‘You’ve invested in this beautiful dentistry and because of a your dry mouth you’re at high risk for cavities.  Doctor recommends x-rays today to check for cavities that could be starting so we can catch them early’.

2)  Before you pick up the phone to make a reactivation call, clear your mind of the notion of ‘filling the schedule’. Instead focus on expressing care and concern for the patient on the other end. Prepare yourself with knowledge of the patient. Get reacquainted with them by reviewing their chart. This will create more success with getting patients back in to recare then making them feel bad because it’s been so long.


‘We haven’t seen you in awhile, are you ok?’

‘How is that crown feeling that we placed last time we saw you?’

‘I know your mother was ill and you were taking care of her, how is she doing?

3)  Do something for a patient and a teammate even if it makes NO impact on your own schedule, paycheck and especially if it’s not your ‘job’.


Even though your room may not be fully stocked, seat someone else’s patient.

Scrub and pack everyone’s instruments that are in the ultrasonic, not just yours.

If there are patients in the reception area, go out and greet them, thank them for being there, even if you have a pile of emails waiting for you.

4) Instead of jamming it all in and moving at the speed of light to stay on time, schedule time to really listen to that new patient and what they hope to achieve today during their time with you.


‘I am going to do a very thorough exam and tell me, what would you like us to focus on today?’

‘Is there anything that concerns you that you want to be sure we address?’

And then do it. This creates trust. When it’s all about the patient, trust emerges.


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