The Magic of Effective Communication

The most important aspect of dentistry today is not what you say to patients and insurance companies, but how you say it.

Updated 6/30/20

Have you ever felt as though your communication wasn’t effective with patients? The key elements for effective communication are very simple.

  1. Don’t ask Yes/No questions
  2. Always offer two options

This method works well in every patient communication scenario, from presenting treatment, discussing financial arrangements, dealing with cancellations, handling patient statement calls, following up with overdue hygiene and calling patients needing to schedule their needed dentistry.

Listed below are some examples of effective communication guidelines:

  • DON’T SAY: “Would you like to schedule the appointment for the crown/preventive appointment?”
  • DO SAY: “My next available appointment is Monday at 8:00 or Wednesday at 10:00…which works best for you?”
  • DON’T SAY: “Do you want to pay today?”
  • DO SAY: “Your fee for today was $______, we estimate your insurance will pay $______, your estimated amount due is $ ________…how did you want to handle payment today…cash, check or bank card?”
  • DON’T SAY: “What day/time is good for you?”
  • DO SAY: “The next two appointments we have available are…”
  • DON’T SAY: Do you want to take care of your previous balance?
  • DO SAY: Including your previous balance of $_______, your estimated payment due today is: $______.

Effective communication is the cornerstone of getting positive results, removing barriers and creating successful relationships in a dental practice.

Learn More

For other ideas about communicating with patients, read Tips to Create the Ultimate Patient Experience.

Read How Attitudes Impact the Success of  Practice to get insights into communicating with staff members.

By Lois Banta, President, Banta Consulting

Lois Banta is CEO, and Founder of Banta Consulting, Inc. and is also the owner and CEO of The Speaking Consulting Network. Banta Consulting specializes in all aspects of dental practice management. Lois has over 40 years of dental experience. To contact Lois for a personal consultation or to invite Lois to speak to your organization: Office-816-847-2055, Address: 33010 NE Pink Hill Rd ~ Grain Valley, MO 64029, Email: Website:

Published as part of a collection of key takeaways from the 2017 Business of Dentistry Conference, along with:

Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Winter 2017