Dentists need scripts for three reasons: to make the practice more efficient, increase case acceptance, and provide consistent dental patient education. The word “scripts” is used as a short-hand method to suggest what are also called “talking points.” It is not a question of reading word-for-word prepared scripts when patients ask questions, but having key phrases available that each team member can weave into their own speech patterns.
Make the Practice More Efficient. A common scenario is that patients are told they need a certain procedure, such as dental implants. The benefits of dental implants are numerous, which is all the more reason to have a script that concisely conveys the most important information. For example, “dental implants are the most advanced tooth replacement system ever devised. They look and function just like natural teeth. They never decay or require root canals, and they can last for decades or even a lifetime with proper care.” One can always expand on this explanation, but notice how much information is conveyed in a short message.
Increase Case Acceptance. When patients cannot decide whether to go forward with recommended treatment, you can use a very compelling script: “The proposed treatment will never be more conservative, more cost effective, or less invasive than it is today.” Let’s unpack that sentence. Everyone wants conservative rather than radical dentistry. “Cost effective” is a very good term for conveying value. Finally, if patients delay treatment, they may need more extensive treatment in the future. The concept that the treatment will never be “less invasive than it is today” nicely captures that point.
Consistent Patient Education. For procedures that you commonly provide in your office, you need to have an agreed upon list of benefits. This list, or script, creates consistent patient education. If a patient asks why a crown is needed, it is likely that everyone in the office can provide correct answers, although the answers will no doubt vary depending on the person who is responding. The great advantage of having a script is for everyone literally to be on the same page and give patients consistent answers that the doctor has deemed in advance to be the best way to answer the question.
The wording used to answer commonly asked questions should not be left to chance. Dentists need scripts to remove variables and provide a consistent and efficient way to provide dental patient education and increase case acceptance.