Episode 218 – Confidence & The Dental Practice
“I didn’t talk nerd stuff. I just said, ‘Look at the X-ray. That looks horrible. Let’s get you fixed.’ And the patient was like, ‘Finally! Someone who knows what he’s doing.’” ~Dr. Chad Johnson
In this episode of Everyday Practices Dental Podcast, your hosts Regan Robertson and Dr. Chad Johnson dive deep into a topic that touches every aspect of dentistry and beyond – confidence.
Dr. Chad shares two impactful stories – from recent experiences hosting an implant open house to handling a broken tooth situation on a snow day – and walks us through the intricacies of how he instills confidence in patients. Regan and Dr. Chad explore the fine line between genuine confidence and the potential pitfalls of false assurance, all while reflecting on the crucial role confidence plays in case acceptance.
Dr. Chad also offers insights into effective communication, addressing patient concerns, and providing options that empower them. Unpack the layers of confidence in dentistry and discover how it can be both a powerful ally – and a potential challenge.
As you listen to this episode, think about the following questions:
- How do you convey information in a relatable manner to build trust and confidence with your patients?
- In what ways do you present treatment plans tailored to your patients’ preferences and circumstances?
- How can you become a better active listener of your patients to ensure they feel understood?
Hi, Doctor. Regan Robertson, CCO of Productive Dentist Academy here and I have a question for you. Are you finding it hard to get your team aligned to your vision, but you know, you deserve growth just like everybody else? That’s why we’ve created the PDA productivity workshop. For nearly 20 years PDA workshops have helped dentists just like you align their teams, get control of scheduling, and create productive practices that they love walking into every day. Just imagine how you will feel when you know your schedule is productive. Your systems are humming, and your team is aligned to your vision. It’s simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. We can help visit productivedentist.com/workshop that’s productivedentist.com/workshop to secure your seats now.
Dr. Chad Johnson 0:47
You can be confident and quiet confidence you can be introverted and confident just as much as like me you can be extroverted and confident.
Welcome to the Everyday Practices Podcast. I’m Regan Robertson, and my co-host Dr. Chad Johnson and I are on a mission to share the stories of everyday dentists who generate extraordinary results using practical proven methods you can take right into your own dental practice. If you’re ready to elevate patient care and produce results that are anything but ordinary, buckle up and listen in.
Welcome to Everyday Practices Dental podcast. I am your host, Regan Robertson, and I am here with the esteemed, Dr. Chadwick Johnson, my co-host and international traveler, Happy New Year chat and welcome to the show.
Dr. Chad Johnson 1:44
And if I had a pseudonym, I’d make it Billy Shears and for anyone that, that knows the reference, yep, they can figure out this is Billy Shears, DDS,
No, it’s It’s gonna be a cryptic message for the, the true fans, they’ll know not of the of this podcast, but they’ll know
It’s an inside joke for the ages but that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. We’re here to talk confidence. That’s right. What is come up this week for you that made you choose to have a dialogue about confidence. There’s lots of reasons that confidence can help us, hinder us. We all suffer with it at times. So what brought this top of mind for you?
Dr. Chad Johnson 2:26
Yeah, you know, it could be a hindrance in the sense that false confidence could be like, “No, I’m the best person for the job. Vote for me,” you know, and it’s like, you’re not the best person. But you put out a lot of confidence. So interestingly, my case acceptance on two particular cases, this last week led me to think I should talk with Reagan about this during our podcast. But what happened was, I had a patient we did this last Friday, we did an implant open-house, and one of the patients that came through,
I love the visual of that the implant open picture, people showing up with holes in their mouth, like, let’s go look right now.
Dr. Chad Johnson 3:04
Just open up. No, we open up the place, you open your mouth, let’s roll and, and so this, this guy came in, and he wanted to talk about treatment and by the time we got done, he was like, “Here’s the deal, the last office, you know, they sent me down the street,” and then you know, he said, “Why, you know, like, maybe we could do this and that and why don’t you think about the, you know, go into here, this and that and he kind of didn’t quite understand what was wrong with the tooth,” and I went in, I told him, I said, “Well, here’s the deal. You know, what, before I came in the room, I looked at that x-ray, and it’s just like, well, there it is, I mean, you’ve got what appears to be a crackdown a vertical crack down the root of this molar and it’s had a history of root canal treatment, and it’s starting to kind of fester and when I looked in your mouth, there it is, you know, you can see that and so it’s pretty self-evident to me that this tooth isn’t saveable and here’s why, you know, like, you know, what you’re feeling,” and stuff like that and I even tried to you know, gentle FYI to soften the blow of you know, like he is, he’s like, “Why did the last dentist not you know, why did he do this and that?” And I was like, “Well, here’s the deal. I think he was wanting to make sure that before you definitively pull the tooth that you felt confident that you that you’ve exhausted all your options and but by the sounds of it, he wasn’t explaining what was going on with it,” and I said, “I mean shoot, I could just see right away it just you know, this, there’s blackness on this X ray around the root of the tooth and and then you’re it’s hurting to chew on stuff like that. You’ve got this history of root canal treatment on it. It looks fractured now and and so I just said you know, we’re gonna we’re gonna need to pull it and how Oh, that’s gonna help and everything like that,” and he said, “You know, my wife comes here, my daughter’s come here and so they recommended that I come check this out and I’m glad I did because it just seems like I’m at ease, knowing that you understand what’s going on and you’ve done a good job of explaining to me, so like, I feel comfortable about this,” and that’s a cool compliment, you know, and at the same time to be raw, I was thinking, you know, what’s sad is I could be really confident and have the wrong answer. You know, like, because he thought about that I did, I was just like, you know, this, this there, it’s a dangerous tool to have confidence because he said, you know, you, you, you give me like, you have a confidence about you, that makes me comfortable knowing that you know what you’re doing and I just thought, boy, that could be dangerous, you know, like that, if someone you know, just is like, No, I’m confident that all these teeth need pulled, and it’s like, whoa, this guy’s really confident I should pull all my teeth. It’s like, wait a second, wait a second, you know, does does this line up with reality? And if it does, then cool, but I’m just saying, you know, worst case scenario, you got someone that’s really confident, and I’m sure you’re your then your host, you know, right. So, but then it repeated itself, right and I had someone else this come in this week, and we’ve had two snow days this week and so she came in either Monday or Tuesday.
Explain to the listeners what a snow day is. Oh, good, canceled or is Yeah. So they came in on a snow day or office noting though?
Dr. Chad Johnson 6:35
So yeah, I was trying to think we had a shortened week, because in the Midwest, here in Iowa and other places, you know, like when you’re anticipating or you’re getting a ton of snow. A lot of businesses either shut down early schools cancel or are delayed to go in, then the problem is with families and stuff, getting kids to work, you know, if they’re going to be two hour delay school, should we do a two hour delay for work? And you know, our patients gonna come in, you know, it’s a whole fiasco because if patients are going to kind of come aren’t going to come in, why should we come in? You know, so oh, that’s a fiasco. I’m,
I’m stopping you right there only because I didn’t ask you that. Because I actually cared about what a snow day is. I wanted to demonstrate where that confidence comes from and you’re walking somebody through a stage. So I’m about to dissect what you have done and why that person had the confidence or calling it confidence. Yeah, but why they actually were ready to say yes to your care. So tell us the second story.
Dr. Chad Johnson 7:33
It was almost the it was the almost the exact same tooth, just on the opposite side, same situation, broken tooth, you can actually see the broken route on the X ray for this one. It’s almost like life was getting easier. I was just like, hanging on. If I had everyone come in like this. I was like, “Your tooth is so broken, you definitely needs pull, there’s no you know, excuse.”And she said, “You know, I went to this dentist and then I went to the other like, he referred me to a general dentists down the street and I didn’t like him at all, like, I don’t know and then I they sent me to an endodontist in the endodontist said, probably needs pulled, you know, but like, you’re redoing the root canal treatment and won’t work,” and I said, “Well, yeah, it won’t work because the tooth is broken and they said, Why didn’t like I just wasn’t explained that and I said, “Well, you know, I’m looking at this X-ray and here’s,” if I explained, I said, “If we were looking at a crack in the windshield, and it was getting, you know, is really small and at first, the first clinician that’s looking at this broken windshield is going, I think it’s broken and then as it gets worse, it’s like, Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s broken by the time you’ve got to me there’s crack is all the way across the windshield. Okay, so I said, “You know, I’ve got the easy, you know, clean up here by the time it’s got to this point, it’s easy for me to see, and it’s easy for you to see, hopefully.”So I don’t know how easy or how hard it was for the last clinicians to see, you know, the challenge of this tooth but right now, it’s pretty obvious and so it makes me look like the genius hero, because I’m looking at this tooth that’s horrible and it just needs pulled. Okay and I think they were catching on to it but it was early enough that they’re like, I hate to tell this person that they have to have it pulled if maybe the endodontist might be able to help us out and save the day. You know, if it wasn’t this bad on the X ray, they were just hoping that you know, there might be another option. Let’s at least visit the specialist first and the specialist is thinking I don’t know what this dentist might be thinking but I mean, it might be obvious to me. So I just said, “There was probably a lot of uncertainty at this point. I’m pretty certain this too just needs to be pulled. We can do an implant. We can do a partial, we can do a bridge, we can just leave the hole. Those are your four options, and so far as I’m concerned, historically, implants are super expensive and a bridge was kind of the mainstay. These days a bridge and an implant are about the same cost. I think you should get an implant here as long as the bone heals fine and, you know, let’s get you started. Like, within the next couple of weeks when you’re ready, do you want to pull it today or wait? You know, some other time?” I often offer that I’m just like, “I’m at your service. Do you want to pull this today or do you have other stuff that you wanted to do? And you kind of just wanted to talk about it today because if you want to get started, I’m glad to do that but I also don’t want to twist your arm if you’re like, “Oh, no, I just wanted to put my toes in the water, and kind of feel it out today with me too, okay, so I’m willing to do whatever you want,” and she remarked, she was just like, “I just, I feel like you explained it so well and I just love the confidence that you brought to this, because at the other places, I just didn’t get that,” and I thought, “This is normal for me,” and and then like, but obviously other people aren’t getting that experience and so I wanted to bring the advantage, Regan, to our listeners to say, “You know what, this is something that you can bring, as a clinician, if you don’t feel like you bring this or that you get complimented at least once a year that hey, you exuded a confidence that you don’t have to be cocky, there’s a difference. I mean, you can be confident in a quiet confidence, you can be introverted and confident just as much as, like me you can be extroverted and confident.” That’s my whole monologue diatribe about the two patient interactions that were almost the same and they both commented on the confidence factor and they’re ready to say yes and I just thought, “You know, Bruce would be proud of me and at the same time, other people need to be able to do that and seal the deal,” and here’s the thing, Reagan, one important note, I didn’t say, let me science up and explain all the nerdy details about this tooth and get into the weeds and tell you, you know, like Matt microscopically, here’s the problem is there’s a frictional coefficient of the sealant that’s down in the root of the tooth and, and so then the periodontal ligament was unsupported in this and that it’s just like, I didn’t call it I didn’t talk nerd stuff. I just said, look at the x-ray, “That looks horrible. Let’s get you fixed,” and and that was they were just like, “Oh, finally someone that knows what they’re doing.” Regan, what are your thoughts?
I’m going to break this down so that listeners can actually turn this into a tangible tool. This comes naturally to you, after many years, and I know that you have genuine confidence as opposed to the fake confidence and the self-awareness that you have right out of the gate of checking yourself like, “Am I really making this recommendation from a place of experience?” So that’s where it’s very difficult to fake authenticity. And that is authentically you. Everybody right now. Go, go to Amazon and buy Active Selling by skip Miller right now. It is a really weird book for me to recommend. Right. It’s for salespeople. It’s right there. So “Active Selling” by Skip Miller, okay. Right now, because every single patient walks through a process. In proactive selling, they call it the sales process, it doesn’t matter. It’s when you’re going to make any decision and I’m going to dissect right now, exactly what you did in the five steps that it takes to get someone to make a decision and this is why I know our listeners we had no, all he said was can we talk confidence today, so I didn’t know what I was going to get into. Okay, so there are five stages. There’s the initial interest stage, that’s number one. That’s the discovery of oops, I’ve got a problem something has happened up so they visit one dentist they got or the teeth is like calf cracked off whatever it is, I got a problem, then they need to immediately go into the education phase that is step two, educate and discover what are my options, what do I need to understand about this problem? What What solutions could possibly even be available to me? That is stage two, Chad, you shine at stage two, and there is a check out the three levels of languages and proactive selling because it talks about how people talk at different levels. Dr. Bruce B. Baird, which who you referenced is the co-founder of Productive Dentist Academy. He is chef’s kiss in talking about how to speak to non engineers and engineers. So he breaks it down in a way that dentistry and dentists and teams can understand. Skip Miller explains it more from an executive business standpoint, but they say the same thing. When you show up to a conversation with a patient you have to speak in their language and so you cannot get too sciency on them. You cannot take them down the detail of how the procedure is actually going to be done or the composition of the materials you’re going to use. You have to reach them where they are going to feel interested because your job through this five-step process is to be a guide. Yeah, not to be the center of attention. So you already and you said that. So here’s something that everybody should write down. You said I’m at your service today. You place yourself in a guide role, so that helps people feel confident. Also, you showcase to people when you get in that education phase that you’re interested in the homework, so maybe you don’t have files from the previous dentists, but you take the time to actively listen and understand their level of knowledge, what they have been educated on so far, and you do your homework in real-time. So if you’re in sales, you’re going to do your homework, if you’re going to pitch a proposal or something kind of on the slide, you do it right there in the seat, and you probably look at their health history and all that good stuff, too. So you spend a lot of time there. This is important, because most many, many healthcare institutions don’t often take the time to listen, to make the connection. So when you are successful at that, it goes into the validation stage. That is step three, that is where transfer of ownership occurs. So you had talked about how I think the second patient, she said, You know, I don’t know why, but I just I, you just did such a good job of explaining it to me and I noticed that you said, you know, you started to make guesses on maybe what the other clinician may or may have have not been thinking but you put it in a positive spin. Yeah, my guess my guess is, too, is that you also asked what I call story questions. That’s a Business Made Simple term. Skip Miller and practice selling, he calls it he calls it another term, I think he calls it the flip but anyway, either way, it is it is questions that that person might be thinking. So my assumption is, you probably say you may be wondering, yes, y, z. Oh, you did it with the bridge and the implant, you may have heard that, you know, bridges are the more economical route to go, the reality is this. So you’re transferring ownership. And if you’re doing it, right, and that’s where your confidence also goes up because you watch body language, and you probably see that person nodding their eyes light up. As soon as you know that, you know, subconsciously, you have a green light to keep going through the process. Yep. So stage four, when you do that people are now feeling like that’s where your authority comes in to Chad. So that’s where they start to feel
Dr. Chad Johnson 16:51
On that step real quick, before you get this is great but one thing that like, along those lines, when I get done, sometimes I’ll have something nerdy to explain to the patient but it’s specific to dentistry and maybe a couple other industries but specific within dentistry, I’ll say, I know, that was kind of nerdy, like some of that and so I’ll acknowledge that and I’ll just go does “Did what I just explained make sense if even if it needs to,” but like, so, you know, I’ll apologize.
That is called a bridge. So a bridge is what oh, my gosh, this is gonna be my favorite podcast of the whole year already. Um, that is called a bridge, you’re seeking engagement. So you’re actually summarizing what you just said. So you’re kind of quickly summarizing, “I’m sorry, this was a little nerdy. Does this make sense? Do you have feedback? Would you agree?” Those are all statements that bridge into the next stage.
Dr. Chad Johnson 17:46
Yes and before you get to that one, before that one, yes, that then is when I go like you had already said it. So I’m just recapping, because I’ll say, “You know, what the top two questions that patients are wondering?” And so I’ll say that I’ll say, “You know, if I pull this tooth, do I need to do the implant right away?” The answer’s, “No, you don’t have to.” So then I’ll explain, “You know, the advantage to getting the implant done, but you don’t necessarily have to put the crown on it right away, you can get the implant which goes down in the bone, it’s, it’s basically the synthetic route, but it’s not the top of the tooth.” Patients kind of think about an implant as the whole thing and basically the tooth that you see and smile with and chew with, but to me, that’s the implant crown. The implant is what goes down in the bone, you won’t even see it for the first few months and so it’s stuff like that, that I’ll just say, that’s one of the questions that patients ask and another one is, you know, is a, for example, like, I it’s not always two things, but I’ll just say the other question that a lot of people within this circumstance are asking is, “Can I get sedation, you know, for this because I’m awfully nervous about it?” The answer is, “Yes. If you want to talk that over, as I leave, Jessica, you are one of my assistants can look over the sedation form with you and kind of talk those things over but the answer is yes. So don’t worry about that.” So I’m trying to, to hit the questions ahead of time, you know, answer the question, how does Bruce answer the question before the questions asked handle the objection before?
It’s an objection is, there it is.
Dr. Chad Johnson 19:30
So now, I wanted to, like just ruminate on that last point because when you had said that, I was like, “Indeed I do.” I’ll say, Now, the top three things that patients are wondering with this feeling is, why didn’t it work last time and how long is it gonna last this time and how do I take care of it or what’s the pain going to be? So I’ll go over those kinds of things. Basically saying, “I’ve heard these questions before. I know you might even be thinking them, but I’m going to answer those questions before you’ve even asked him. I don’t want to do 10 questions, right?” I don’t want to you know, be showing no more than three really want to be like, well, the 24 thing because then they’re just going, “Oh, shut up. So Okay, keep going.
So what you want to do in that sense Arrow, which I bet you do is is you select those top few few pieces and that’s how again, you establish your authority you connect with them, you’re in the Validate stage at that point. So you are doing that, and then you flip it. and well, I’m assuming you flip it and say, “Now, what questions do you have for me? Do you do that? Okay, so that’s Batum.” So that’s a flip and that is firmly when a person goes from I get it, I get it to Oh, I get it like i Yes, I own it, I get it and now I am justifying. So I am ready to rationalize this decision. So if you do it really, really, really well, it like laying money doesn’t become an option, it instead gets to what are my options to proceed with this route? Yep. So you’re not questioning the value. So you go, I’m telling you proactive selling, go through this book, because you have done a textbook job of how to walk someone through this process. So by that, at that point, too, is it under my assumption, again, would be when the financial the treatment quarter would come would come in, so they decide they’re going to do it unhooked from you, and now they’re figuring out how to make that happy. And that’s when you get to the design phase. That’s your last piece in that process.
Dr. Chad Johnson 21:10
You know, the band-aid that I ripped off with the second woman it was, it was a lady in her, I think, upper 70s and her daughter who came and they were both, you know, thrilled with how it turned out that day. She was a new patient comprehensive exam. So it wasn’t just about that tooth, but that was the problem. The truth behind it needed to an a crown and so I basically said, “Listen, I mean, just so you know,” because they’re going to, oh, naturally, it got to the doctor saying, “Okay, so how much is this going to cost?” I said, “Great question and let me tell you why. I’m going to give you a quick ballpark but right now Melissa is dialing in the treatment plan, and then she’s sending that upfront, before you leave, you’ll have a cost estimate showing you what everything you would owe that. That said implants are expensive. I mean, just to rip the band-aid off and I’ll literally say that I’ll just go to rip the paint off their $6,000,” and I watch them go home and then I go in, “Yeah, but just so that way, you’ve got an idea. The crown, a couple 1000 and the implant and everything a couple 1000 or 6000. So you were talking to $8,000 bill,” and then she but they didn’t say, “We’re out of here.” They said, “Okay, so does insurance play into that?” “No, but here’s how it does it, that’s the top dollar 8000. If your insurance pays 1500 of it, or 1000 of it, then that takes 1500 or 1000 off of it. Something else you might be wondering is could we place the implant this year and if insurance pays for that, then perhaps place the crown on it next year?” And they smiled both of them, they lit up in there like, “We were, we were talking about on that on the car right here? Could we you know,” and I said, “Absolutely, that implant isn’t going to go bad, you know, by December 31 of 2024. So by the end of the year, if you need to, you know, like wait that long, and then place the implant crown this next year, of course we can and so they’re getting yeses when I can when I can give those to them,” and it was funny that they’re lit, their face lit up, and they were nodding and going, we were talking about that we wondered if that’s something that we could do. Furthermore, the tooth behind it, I said, it’s got a broken cusp and a big filling on it, but it’s not a cavity. So if we do need to or want to wait on it, we can almost like have this deferred treatment kind of thing where, you know, this tooth isn’t going to go bad by you know, January 1 of next year. So it’s less than ideal, but we can we can wait if we want to or need to and it’s it’s kind of the answers that they wanted to hear like, am I going to need to pull this tooth because I waited longer than two months because if so then we’ll make it work and I think they would have made it work and furthermore, sometimes with the $6,000 treatment plan, I’ll say and here’s the deal to that 6000 isn’t all due upfront. I’m just telling you start to finish what it’s going to end up costing just so you’ve got an in mind. So all right, your thoughts, Regan
how to build patient confidence with Dr. Chad Johnson. Yeah. The other piece that I love that Bruce, that I heard him do in office one time that I really liked that I think puzzle pieces well together with this is the adaptability. So like you said you started in real time, giving that adaptability and flexibility of the different types of treatment plans. I heard Bruce say we can do this in phases for you and I love that term so much because it’s I guess it speaks my language. So you know if I have a treatment plan and I look at that Bill and go fool like “I don’t really know how I’m going to do that.” “It’s okay let’s do this. Let’s break this down in phases and make this this more digestible for you.” It’s still a yes and you could tell when you were saying, you know, you might be wondering this in their eyes lit up and they’re like, oh my gosh, we were just talking about this in the car. It’s a yes. You have them it is a yes. Yep. How do you how do you end the conversation, so that you feel confident that a decision is going to get made?
Dr. Chad Johnson 25:11
So if it’s going well, and conversationally, you know, like, it’s, I go, “Oh, my goodness, I just talk your ear off. I apologize. Like I hope that was the information that you want to hear like that you were hoping to gather today.” But I’ll tell you what, “Janet janiece you know, it was it was so nice meeting both of you. Do you guys have any questions before I head out of the room because Melissa is going to take you from here?” And they’re like, “No, this just wonderful. Janet Janice. It was just so nice to meet you guys. I can’t wait to see you back in the next couple of weeks. Let’s get this taken care of.” Off I go. Boom,
Isn’t it it’s interesting this, this showed how you maintained control, but also help them feel empowered and in control of their own health. Good. Cool and that’s our podcast on confidence. Yeah.
Dr. Chad Johnson 26:04
So if you would like to learn more about that, don’t get in touch with me get in touch with Productive Dentist Academy. So that way, you can go to the workshop and learn directly from the guy I learned from Dr. Bruce Baird, and hear him tell about it. If somehow you find out that you can’t go to the March workshop, which is the second, third and fourth of March, then you have 2024 14
Dr. Chad Johnson 26:29
Wait a second it is oh man, I can’t believe I got that makes up March 14 15th 16th of this year, then. Then we also have a September option. Or you can look at the productive dentist podcast by Bruce Baird on any of the you know, podcast stuff. continue listening to ours, of course, but check out Bruce’s stuff because it’s just chock full of vitamins, minerals, and loaded with confidence and how to talk with patients, et cetera.
Thank you for your insight today, Chad.
Dr. Chad Johnson 27:01
Yeah, good time talking with you, Reagan. Thanks for listening.
Thank you for listening to another episode of Everyday Practices Podcast. Chad and I are here every week. Thanks to our community of listeners just like you and we’d love your help. It would mean the world if you can help spread the word by sharing this episode with a fellow dentist and leave us a review on iTunes or Spotify. Do you have an extraordinary story you’d like to share or feedback on how we can make this podcast even more awesome? Drop us an email at email@example.com And don’t forget to check out our other podcasts from Productive Dentist Academy at productivedentist.com/podcasts See you next week.