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How Dentists Build Trust for Case Acceptance

In this conversation with Patient Prism’s Deborah E. Bush, Dr. Barry F. Polansky, author of “The Art of Case Presentation,” talks about the five essential behaviors dentists should habitually practice in order to build patient trust for case acceptance. 

According to Polansky, you cannot control other people's thoughts, feelings, or actions, but you can influence them. Once you realize that you can move people in the direction that would be better for them, you become a leader. 

If you've been practicing dentistry long enough, you know the sweetest words the patient can say to you is ‘Whatever you say, Doc. I trust you,’” says Polansky. It verifies what you have been doing to build what Covey calls “the emotional bank account.” 

Bush raises the concern that patients come through the front door and out the back door so fast, there isn’t sufficient time and frequency of contact to build trust. 

“The question becomes ‘How do you develop trust?’ especially if you don't have the time,” says Polansky. The silent question people are always asking is “Can I trust you to put me ahead of yourself? Can I trust you to do the job?”

If the job is simple like a filling, you can get case acceptance. But, if the job is a full mouth reconstruction case with implants, that's a whole different level of trust says Polansky. “And so, what do you do as this leader to develop that trust? What are some of the things that you could do? Well number one is don't have a self-focused agenda. It's not about you. It never was about you.”

Polansky says research has demonstrated that trust is the fastest and most efficient motivator in human existence. But, “with people, fast is slow and slow is fast,” says Polansky. In other words, the faster you go in and present treatment, it will slow down trust. But, if you slow down and spend time with people, they'll make their decision faster. It’s wonderful to give time to people to build that level of trust. But, when you have someone standing over you, saying you can only give 15 minutes and no more to a patient, that’s undermining trust and autonomy.”

Polansky speaks of five actions he knows build trust. One is the self-focused agenda has got to go. Number two is to stop judging patients. The third is to validate what people do and say. The fourth is to lean on reason and rationale and not be emotional. The fifth is to be generous with your energy. Go the extra mile and spend extra time with patients. The roots of these five self-interventions are in the field of Positive Psychology. By viewing this video, you will gain understanding of the five.

About the Industry Leaders:

Barry F Polansky, DMD - Profile Pic

Barry F Polansky, DMD

Dental Thought Leader and Author

Author of "The Art of the Examination," "The Art of Case Presentation," and "The Complete Dentist," Dr. Polansky, has delivered comprehensive cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, and implant dentistry for more than 40 years. After earning his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 1973 from the University of Pennsylvania School, he pursued the continuum courses at The Pankey Institute where he's a visiting faculty member, the Dawson Academy, and The Schuster Center. In 1999, he founded The Academy of Dental Leadership, an online community for dentists who want to learn perspectives and skills that will help them flourish in today's dental marketplace. He has written for many industry publications, including Dental Economics, Dentistry Today, Dental Practice and Finance, and Independent Dentistry. His articles have been regularly featured in The Pankey Institute's newsletter.

Deborah E Bush - Profile Pic

Deborah E Bush

Director of Content at Patient Prism and Academy.PatientPrism.com

With over 30 years of experience in both technical and marketing communications management, for the financial and dental industries, Deb is dedicated to strategic content development for Patient Prism LLC. Deb previously served as a Partner & Director of Content at Dentist Profit Systems LLC, the Director of Communications for the Preeclampsia Foundation, Director of Communications for the Pankey Institute, and Publications Manager of CS Thomson Reuters. She has consulted with hundreds of dentists nationwide to help them discern their personal vision of practice and communicate with their patients, peers, and prospective clients.


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