Here's the second in the check list series on communication. Make sure to follow the entire series.
2. STOOP (Speak To the Obvious, the Other Person's)
The second in the communication checklist is an acronym. It's purpose is to remind you to follow along with what the patient has raised.
The fact that the patient is in a dental office and has mentioned something about their teeth indicates that it's an important issue for them.
Ask questions about what they raised. Amplify. Repeat back to make sure you understood.
Don't be in a hurry to take charge of the conversation. As dentists we are “the experts” and love to tell people what's what. Resist the urge to be in charge and stick to the patient's agenda.
By the way, this doesn't mean you get into a whole dialog about the weather, if that's what they raise. Just smile, nod and say “So, what can I do for you today?” to get back on track.