Treatment Planning |2 min read

Getting the Yes: Take Initiative With This Dental Case Acceptance Technique

How well do you understand what your patients value? And not what you think they should, but what they actually do? Dental case acceptance will be elusive if you aren’t able to get down to a patient’s ‘why’ with efficient and effective questions.

2 Intentional Game-Changer Questions

case acceptance strategy and questions

Jenn Janicki, Executive Director

When you sit a patient down to discuss the comprehensive care you think they need, don’t start by throwing tons of extraneous information at them. Instead, ask these two game-changer intentional ‘why’ questions:

1. “What’s most important to you about your teeth?”

2. “What has been the nature of your past dental experiences?”

These two questions seem simple, but are invitations to the patient that can drastically improve your patient-doctor relationship. How can you proceed with care if you don’t understand what they value? Pay attention to how they answer these questions, as opposed to the details.

The patient’s level of comfort with proposed treatment and dentistry on the whole is very important. It will help you determine if they are driven by avoiding the consequences that come with delaying treatment or if they are primarily motivated by the benefits of good treatment. Common responses to the first question fall into either the consequences or benefits category.


  • That I keep them
  • That they look nice
  • That they are healthy
  • That I’m comfortable


  • That you don’t hurt me
  • That it doesn’t cost too much
  • That I don’t have any needs
  • That I don’t lose them

Case Acceptance for Comprehensive Treatment

Before a patient even sits in your chair, you can begin enrolling them in comprehensive treatment. Shift your treatment planning from a sense of trying to convince patients to agree to case acceptance and more toward providing them extremely valuable care. It’s powerful to consider the patient’s unique needs, then develop a visual treatment presentation based on the way they see their care.

Focus less on costs and dental jargon. Focus more on the transformation they will undergo after working with you. The nature of the conversations you have with patients will drive success. Engage in co-discovery and leading questions that teach you about their desires and needs. This will guide you and your patient toward great treatment decisions.

Implementation is the key to case acceptance. You must take action, otherwise you will never achieve what you want with patients.

What aspect of patient consultations do you find the most challenging? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll give you a nudge in the right direction!

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