What to Ask During a New Patient Interview

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The new patient interview is an important part of the first appointment. Asking the right questions will help you get to know every patient and their oral health goals, enabling you to target your education and treatment plans to cover the services that interest patients most—which will help you improve case acceptance in your practice.

So what should you ask during these all-important interviews? Here are a few questions I suggest you have your Treatment Coordinator include:

-How is your smile important to your personal and professional life?

-Does your smile give you confidence when interacting with people, both personally and professionally? 

-What, if anything, bothers you about your smile? What about your oral health in general?

-Do you ever have problems with chewing? Do you ever experience pain in your mouth?

-If you could change anything about your smile, what would it be?

-Have you ever had a negative dental experience? If so, can you share what happened and how it was resolved?

-On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you place the value of achieving optimal oral health?

The answers to these questions should be entered into the patient’s electronic record so you can review their responses and discuss them during the exam. This will help guide the initial appointment. For example, if patients indicate they’re unhappy with their smile, have them point out the areas they’d like to change and then tell you why. From there, you can talk about the services you offer that will help them reach their goals.

Conducting interviews gives you valuable insight into your new patients’ main dental concerns. It also shows you care about their priorities and want their input. This goes a long way in building connections that keep patients loyal, and that makes them more likely to accept the treatment you recommend.


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