25 Dental Patient Trust Builders – Part 1

Your dental practice will thrive or dive based on your ability to build trust with your patients.  No trust = no acceptance, no referrals, no return patients, and pretty soon, no practice!  On the other hand, a foundation of patient trust, carefully built with each patient, means higher acceptance, more new and return patients, and a growing practice.  

We’ve compiled a buffet of 25 proven patient trust builders.  Ignore at your own peril… here's Part 1 with the first 5: 

Trust Builder #1: Authority


Why do pharmaceutical companies use doctors on their TV ads?  Why do we immediately pull over when we see red and blue lights in the rearview mirror? Because we are trained from a young age to respect and trust authority, we give dentists the benefit of the doubt until they give us a red flag reason to do otherwise!

Show authority with...

Uniforms show authority. What do you and your team members wear that communicates your authority as medical professionals?

Confidence in your communication with patients and team members confirms authority.

Credentials demonstrate authority. Do your patients know about/see yours?

Trust Builder #2: Consistency


Walk into any McDonalds in the world, and you know that you are going to smell the same thing, order off the same menu, and get the same burger no matter where you are. McDonalds is consistent, and you have come to trust what you can expect. You trust that the sun is going to come up tomorrow because it has consistently come up every day your entire life. People trust consistency over time.

Show consistency in...

Communication. Do you ever joke with a friend you haven’t heard from for a long time “We thought you were dead?” Be sure and provide regular patient communication.

Repetition in Recommendations. If a patient opts to wait on treatment and you don’t bring it up the next time they are in, they will think they’ve been healed because you are being inconsistent.

Experience. When patients recommend you to friends, they are recommending the entire experience. Make that experience consistent.

Trust Builder #3: Demonstration


“Seeing is believing” and “a picture is worth a thousand words.” People trust what they can see for themselves. Can you show the patient the problem so they can see and understand it for themselves?


Videos. I recently saw a perio presentation in which the dentist used a microscope to literally show the patient the bacteria and amoebas crawling around in their gums on a larger than life video screen. Patient: “Get that out of my mouth right now!”

X-rays, Intraoral Images, Lasers. “Do you see this dark spot?”... 

Models. “Let me show you how your jaw muscle works...”

Case Studies. “Let me show you some pictures of other full mouth cases we’ve worked on and how they turned out.”

Trust Builder #4: Leadership


“Follow the leader!” Here in America, we seem to be obsessed with the best. We keep lists of the richest people and largest our fastest growing companies in the country (Forbes, Fortune, and Inc. Magazine). We naturally put more trust in people, products, and companies that are the best at what they do. Demonstrate that you can be trusted by showing that you are a leader in your market.

What can you lead?...

Particular Procedure. Are you “The leading provider of _______ in Yourtown, USA?” Do your patients know that?

Size. Are you the biggest office in your town that serves the most patients each year?

Procedures Available. Do you offer the most options and available services to your patients in your market?

Awards. Have you been named by other dentists as one of the best dentists in your town?

Trust Builder #5: Integrity


As Steven MR Covey wrote in his book The Speed of Trust, “When trust goes down, cost of business goes up and speed of business goes down.” He gives the example of 9/11. Trust in our fellow air passengers went down, leading to more thorough security checks, which were costly and slowed down the time it takes to get to your flight.

According to his research, the starting point for trust is personal integrity, which includes honesty with yourself and others, congruence, meaning you live by what you believe, humility to admit what you can and can’t do, and courage to maintain integrity even when it’s hard. 

Show integrity through...

Honesty. Are you honest with yourself, your team, and your patients? Do you deserve to be trusted?

Congruence. Do you “always do what you say you will do, no debate?”

Humility. Do you have trouble admitting your shortcomings?

Courage. When is it hardest for you to maintain your integrity? How can you get better?


Click here to read more Dental Patient Trust Builders.  


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