Patient communication overview

Updated: Jan 7

This post is pure Christmas cheer - if you ask me. It's about patient communication, of course. I want to give you a better overview of what it takes if you want to perform more complex treatments on patients with a clinical indication for this.


In my last blog post I wrote about prerequisites for success in a private dental practice. I showed a model that outlines the 3 elements, in addition to the clinical skills, needed to run any successful clinic.


This post goes into a little more depth about one of the 2 foundations that support the clinical skills: patient communication.


If you didn't get to read the last post, I recommend you take a look through it. Mostly because it gives you a better overview.


Christmas market - a thousand stars in one stall

Prerequisite for success

Model of the foundations for success in a dental clinic

Just to refresh your memory, the prerequisite for success consisted of 3 elements at the bottom:

  1. Patient communication

  2. Clinical skills

  3. Leadership

Once the foundation is stable, you can successfully choose to add branding and marketing on top. If you want the practice to evolve in a more specific direction.



The Communication Triangle

Model of the communication triangle

Granted - it's not the easiest name to spell. But nevertheless, it describes the model very well.


I developed the communication triangle to give dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and receptionists a better overview of what kind of communication the dental practice is currently using the most.


Elements in the model

Each step in the model contains some elements that illustrate what it takes to move from one level to another.

It is important for me to stress that there is no one level that is better or more right than another. It is only a question of the user of the model being able to identify him/herself and act accordingly.


With a knowledge of the elements associated with the different levels of the communication triangle, it is easier to identify which skills one needs to improve in order to move to the next level. This makes it easier, quicker and more manageable to become skilled at communicating with your patients, so that they will want to invest in the treatment they need.


Do you want to get better at communicating with your patients in ways that make them want to invest in the treatment they need? Then sign up for the full-day course: "Get to yes" - patient communication. Together with Straumann, we run the courses throughout Scandinavia.



Level 1-5

As you can see, the communication triangle consists of 5 levels. Level 1 at the bottom is the one that takes up the most space in the model. That's because this is where most dentists and dental hygienists communicate with patients most of the time. At the top, level 5, there is not much space. This is because there are very few dental practices that handle communication at this level.


The dividing line between level 3-4

In the drawing of my model, you can see a thick line between communication levels 3 and 4. There are several reasons for this.

  1. There is a very big difference between communication at level 1-3 and communication at level 4-5.

  2. Below the dividing line are the forms of communication that are suitable for presenting simple treatments (levels 1-3)

  3. Above the dividing line, the forms of communication best suited to presenting complex treatments (levels 4-5).

Are you still with me?

Later I'll give some concrete examples of what's hiding on the different levels (It's almost like a gift calendar - don't you think?😊)


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Simple and complex treatments

rubik's cube

Instead of analysing the body language, tone of voice, choice of words, personality profile and possible zodiac sign of the patient sitting in front of you. You can start quite simply:

  • Figure out whether you're presenting a simple or a complex treatment.

As a rule of thumb, simple treatments are all treatments with a monetary value below 3.500-3.400€ depending on regional demographics.

Complex treatments, are all treatments that cost more.


That' s easy - don’t you think?


Consequences of simple or complex

There is quite a difference between presenting one or the other type of treatment.

Here's the simple one:

  • Simple treatments can be presented immediately