relational equity

In dentistry, where precision and care are the cornerstones of practice, trust is the invisible thread that weaves through every patient interaction. Patients don’t just entrust their oral health to dental professionals; they also place their confidence in the practice itself. This trust is a form of “relational equity,” a precious asset that can make or break the patient experience.

What is Relational Equity?

Relational equity is the cumulative value of trust, rapport, and positive interactions a dental practice builds with its patients over time.

It’s not just about delivering top-notch clinical care; it’s about creating an environment where patients feel respected, heard, and genuinely cared for.


Trust Breeds Compliance

Patients are more likely to follow through with treatment plans and preventive care recommendations when they trust their dental professionals. This trust is often built through transparent communication, empathy, and a track record of reliable care.

 Enhanced Patient Experience

Patients who feel valued and respected are more likely to have a positive experience at the dental office. This positive experience extends beyond the clinical aspects to the atmosphere, staff interactions, and follow-up care.

Loyalty and Referrals

Patients with a strong sense of trust and relational equity with their dental practice are more likely to return for their dental needs and refer friends and family. Word-of-mouth recommendations are invaluable in dentistry.

Building Relational Equity in Dentistry

Communication is Key

Establish open and transparent communication with patients. Explain procedures, address concerns, and involve patients in their treatment decisions. This fosters a sense of partnership in their oral health journey.

When employees understand that missteps are not failures but stepping stones toward improvement, they become more motivated to take risks and push their boundaries. Learn more about Embracing Mistakes. 

Empathy and Active Listening

Show genuine empathy for patients’ concerns and actively listen to their needs. Make them feel heard and understood.

Consistency Matters

Consistency in care, both in clinical quality and interpersonal interactions, is crucial. Patients should experience the same high standard of care with each visit.


Discuss treatment options, costs, and expected outcomes. Patients appreciate honesty and straightforwardness.

Personalized Care

Tailor your approach to each patient’s unique needs and preferences. Recognize that every patient is an individual with specific concerns and expectations.

Follow-Up and Follow-Through

Aftercare is as important as the initial treatment. Follow up with patients to ensure they recover well and promptly address post-treatment concerns.

Educate and Empower

Educate patients about oral health and preventive measures they can take. Empower them to make informed decisions about their dental care.

Relational equity is about nurturing the intangible bonds between patients and dental professionals. When patients feel their oral health is in capable, caring hands, they are more likely to commit to their dental care, have positive experiences, and become loyal advocates for your practice. In the end, trust and relational equity are not just assets but heartbeats of a thriving dental practice.

About the Author Ben Shaver

For over a decade, I've guided growing dental practices and groups on how to use leadership and communication to build referable teams and memorable brands.

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