Conversations With Patients


When seeing a patient, especially a new one but certainly in just about every instance, it’s good to have some lightweight “chit-chat” before getting to the dental stuff. But what do you talk about? These “cocktail party conversations” come more easily to some than to others.

Here’s a simple acronym to remember when initiating conversations:

F: Family

Do you have siblings? Did you grow up in Bloomington or did you come here from somewhere else? How did you meet your spouse? The list goes on.

O: Occupation

“So what do you do?” can be a bit tedious. And you should get an idea for what they do when you see their intake form. So make it a little better than that.

“Oh – you’re a teacher? That’s fantastic. What grade do you teach?”

“You work at Mamma Mia’s? I love their pizza! What’s the secret?”

You get the idea.

R: Recreation

“So what do you like to do when you’re not unclogging drains?”

D: Dreams

Asking someone about their life’s goals and aspirations might be more suitable to social situations than the dental office, but if the opportunity arises to get it in, that can be really interesting. So if someone says, “Well I’m teaching English at the community college, but my goal is to be a best-selling writer of young adult urban fantasy novels…..” ask away!

And of course, don’t forget to make your “Blue Sheet.” What? You’re not sure what a Blue Sheet is?

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