Building trust with aesthetic dentistry patients

Aesthetic Dentistry Expert Manrina Rhode shares her strategies for building trust with patients and the impact that this can have on the dentist-patient relationship.

Today I want to talk to you about developing trust with your patients. I think the most important thing when you first meet a patient is to make them feel heard. To make them realise that they are your priority, which they are and which they should be.

When they come into the room, make sure you’re looking them in the eye. You’re giving them your full attention and you’re listening to what they have to say. Once they’ve told you what their concerns are, repeat them back to them, and show them that you care and that you’re listening.

We really pander to every one of our patients needs. I’m very careful to listen out and to remember things that they like and don’t like. This makes sure that we optimise each appointment and make them feel like they’re part of the team – part of the family. Also that we really care that they’re comfortable.

Cultivating trust

As much as daily, someone will leave my room and say: ‘I trust you Marina.’ They feel the trust and they feel like they need to vocalise it. I find that really interesting.

Equally, if I felt that a patient didn’t trust me, I don’t think I could continue with their treatment plan. If I felt like they were questioning my choices, or the way that they were interacting with me was not one of trust – mutual trust between the two of us – I think it’s very difficult to continue in this sort of professional environment. In a dentist-patient relationship, trust is super important.

Trust can also be earned over a period of time. I heard Koray Feran say something really interesting recently. To paraphrase, he said that you can build trust with the patient by telling them: ‘There’s an issue in your mouth and we’re going to keep an eye on it. At some point, we’ll need to do something about it.’

Then when you see them for their check-up a year later, you mentioned it again. By then, they’ve built the trust and had time to think about it. You played the long game and now it’s time to do something about it. You can then go on to treat them with that trust in place.

Building your reputation

But equally, you can build trust by building your own reputation. If you spend time as a dentist creating articles, podcasts or videos to educate other dentists, then before a patient even comes to see you, they’ve already chosen you. They trust you, they know your name, they see you as the expert. That really reduces the time needed to build someone’s trust. You’ve already built it through building your own reputation within your community.

I think that’s an interesting thing for dentists to think about. There’s many things that I do for free within dentistry, to provide value within our profession. I do them because I care about profession and I want people to do the best treatment. Also to improve the reputation of our profession.

But equally I do it because it also allows my patients to get to know me and the knowledge that I have. To get to know my reputation – how I speak, how I look, how I feel to them. That way, they can choose me.

That gets rid of that one element of my business which is having to find patients or marketing myself to them. They come by themselves and they already trust me.

Catch up with previous Aesthetic Dentistry Expert columns:

Follow on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.

Visit Manrina’s website here:

Get the most out of your membership by subscribing to Dentistry CPD
  • Access 600+ hours of verified CPD courses
  • Includes all GDC recommended topics
  • Powerful CPD tracking tools included
Register for webinar
Add to calendar