What Dental School Didn’t Teach You About Implant Case Presentation

August 16, 2018

While dental school does a great job preparing dentists to treat patients, it does a poor job helping dentists with case presentation, especially dental implant case presentation.

For example, even at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, case presentation practice is focused on third- and fourth-year clinics and practicing with colleagues and faculty, as noted on their public third-year and fourth-year curricula.

No matter how well schools do during clinics, there’s only so much you can learn about case presentation when you also need to learn how to take care of people’s teeth and mouth health. And there’s only so much you can learn when presenting to colleagues, faculty, or even in a student clinic, where much of the focus of faculty and supervisors needs to be on making sure diagnoses and procedures are accurate.

Dental school can’t replicate the realities you’ll face when you get into practice and start presenting to real patients, with real issues, personal struggles, and financial constraints. And you can’t get enough practice in two years of clinical experience that you will in years of private practice.

So, if your dental implant case presentation skills need work, you’re not alone. But if you don’t continue to develop them, you’re virtually destined to struggle. Few patients will move forward with implants they need, and you’ll waste a lot of time and money in the process.

Over time, that could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, burn you out, and even fracture personal relationships because you end up overworked and overstressed. Eventually, poor case presentation could cost you more than you paid to go to dental school.

Filling the cavity dental school left behind.

Improving dental implant case acceptance is one of the most impactful things you can do to build your implant practice, especially if you’re running active implant marketing campaigns.

Because of how important case presentation is, we reached out to one of the foremost experts in case acceptance, Dr. Paul Homolyand asked him to share best case presentation practices.

Dr. Homoly summarized the problem and the solution with case acceptance and suggested that dentists should stop dental implant case presentations altogether.

Instead, he stressed that dentists should have dental implant case conversations.

The problem with dental implant case presentations.

Case presentation like they teach you in dental school puts your focus on the issues with your patients’ teeth. You talk about what’s happening with their mouth. You show them scans and point out the issues. You explain technical terms and describe the recommended treatment.

If your patient is still awake at that point, they’re likely no longer paying attention. It took you four years of schooling and often many years of practice to understand all that technical jargon. You can’t expect your patients to understand it.

Your patients are stressed. They have bills to pay. They have to get back to work. They don’t have the time or attention span to learn all the technical details it took you years to master. The more complex the case, the worse it gets.

Shifting from case presentations to case conversations.

Thus, Dr. Homoly suggests shifting to case conversations. Case conversations require you to understand your patient before you start talking with them about treatment. This helps you create a more emotional connection with your patient. It allows you to present your treatment plan in a way your patient will care about.

Ask your patient about their teeth and how their teeth problems are impacting their life. Make that personal connection; tap into their feelings and motivators. That allows you to understand your patients’ conditions from a technical perspective as well as how the condition is affecting their life.

With this in mind, you can then shift the conversation into what you’ll do for the patient, such as help them toss their dentures, instead of what you’ll be doing to the patient, which is placing an implant.

Turning dental implant case presentations in case conversation.

Case conversations are especially important with dental implant patients for two reasons. First, the impact of the procedure on the patient’s life is incredible. That allows you to have powerful conversations with patients about how the implant can improve their life.

Second, the cost of the procedure is higher than many others. With fees ranging from $2,500 to well over $10,000, it’s especially important for patients to understand what they will be getting in return for their investment in a way that matters to them. To patients, the value of the procedure is in ditching their dentures, getting their smile back, and eating normally again. It’s not in the implant procedure itself. It’s in what the implant procedure will do for them.

Closing more dental implant cases using case conversations.

If you want help shifting your dental implant case presentations to case conversations, we highly recommend connecting with Dr. Paul Homoly directly. On his website, you’ll find resources to get you started and can even enter his case acceptance coaching program, which includes dozens of additional case presentation tips.

Also, be sure to let us know your best case conversation tips in the comments or by sharing this post on social media! Be sure to tag us so we can thank you in public on Twitter, @DrivenDental, or on our Facebook page.


Stop chasing unqualified leads and wasting your valuable chairtime. Learn how to fill your operatories with patients who are pre-qualified and serious about moving forward with your high-value treatment.

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Stop chasing unqualified leads and wasting your valuable chairtime. Learn how to fill your operatories with patients who are pre-qualified and serious about moving forward with your high-value treatment.