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Knowing how to speak to patients to help them understand their dental treatment and feel comfortable with moving forward is one of the foundations of building a successful dental practice.

Jacob Berger, DMD, is a  general dentist who practices at Smiles at Lakewood Ranch near Bradenton, FL. He uses the DiSC® Profile Method every day to help patients move forward with case acceptance.

“You can tell somebody that he needs a crown in four different ways,” says Dr. Berger. The key is understanding the patient’s personality type and tailoring your delivery accordingly.


In this video, Dr. Berger demonstrates how he uses the DiSC® Profile Method to pick up on verbal and non-verbal cues from the patient, and then adjusts how he tells the patient about the treatment plan. He presents the same treatment to four people, each with a different personality type.


D Represents Dominance

The D in DiSC represents Dominance, and this type of patient places emphasis on accomplishing results. “What you need to do with these patients is to get straight to the point and respect their time.” When you demonstrate you respect what is important to them, they are more willing to agree to treatment.


I Represents Influence

The I in DiSC represents Influence. This person likes to socialize and places emphasis on building relationships. They don’t need all the details of the treatment. Taking time to carry on a conversation of interest to them, addressing any concerns they share, and returning to the next step of scheduling treatment will move this personality type forward to agreeing to treatment.


S Represents Steadiness

The S in DiSC represents Steadiness. This personality type is quiet and places emphasis on cooperation and dependability. Dr. Berger reports the majority of patients are quiet and most likely nervous, so even if they are not asking questions, fill them in on what to expect gently. For example, “It's going to be a little new for you, but I work on the tooth for 90 minutes, and then, I'll see you back about three weeks later to put the actual permanent crown on. You'll have a temporary crown in the meantime. My office administrator knows your insurance and will go over the cost of treatment with you. If there a day of the week that works best for you, we’ll schedule you accordingly.”


C Represents Conscientiousness

The C in DiSC represents Conscientiousness. Dr. Berger explains that this type can be a little difficult because they ask lots of questions. This type of patient places emphasis on quality, accuracy, expertise and competency. They want to know the details of why treatment is needed and what to expect. They like it when the doctor or hygienist can use a brochure, printout, or video to explain exactly what will happen. Dental professionals need to spend time with this type of patient, as they easily ask multiple questions about options, materials, cost, treatment experience and post-treatment experience. Dr. Berger recommends reeling this type of patient back in, for example, “That question is something I can happily answer, and after I answer that for you, let's move on to any other questions that you have,” almost building up and guiding the conversation for them. If not, you'll be going off on a tangent with them. They're going to ask questions not even related to the treatment.” Answer their questions a little bit and let them know their questions are important but guide them back to the next step in moving forward.

Some patients are a combination of types. Perhaps, they are quiet at first and then reveal they are talkative or have a lot of questions as they get to know you and relax. It's important to adjust your presentation style to their personality type as your professional relationship evolves.

Enjoy the video while you learn. The role-playing is excellent. You’ll say to yourself, “I recognize that personality type! I see it every day.”

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