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Episode #537: Getting Patients to A.S.K. for Treatment, with Katrina Sanders

Today, patients consult Dr. Google before coming into your office. They are skeptical, untrusting, and won’t easily accept treatment. You can’t tell them they need treatment — you need to get them to ask for it! You can do this using the A.S.K technique, and Kirk Behrendt brings back Katrina Sanders, The Dental WINEgenist, to talk about her course on this method to get patients eager for treatment. While she’s here, she also talks about her line of wines and her exciting journey into this space. To hear more about Katrina, wine, and her love for dentistry, listen to Episode 537 of The Best Practices Show!

Episode Resources:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Aridus wine:

The Wine Op:

Main Takeaways:

Build your verbal skills to convey the problem, consequence, and solution.

Use co-discovery to encourage and engage patients in the process.

Help patients understand their problem so they ask for a solution.

Don’t do the bare minimum. Your patients deserve the best.

Be disruptors and innovators in perio.


“Perio has gotten a bad reputation over the years for doing the same age-old procedures over and over again. Patients hate coming in and getting tissue grafting done because they’ve seen, ‘Forty years ago, my neighbor had that done. And they hate what it looks like,’ or, ‘It created a lot of pain.’ In addition, perio is also one of those professions where we’re seeing patients in an asymptomatic disease process. The patients aren’t typically in pain. So, for example, your endodontists, a patient is in pain. They want that tooth endodontically treated yesterday because they’re in pain. Or, what about your pediatrics? Pediatrics, you’re golden. Every parent wants to take care of their kids, right? But in perio, we have to be true innovators because we are the ones who are fighting that oral systemic link on the front line. And we do see patients that have multimodal comorbidities. So, they have to be early adapters to a lot of the pieces. They have to be the ones to move dentistry forward. Because if we don’t, what happens? The patient suffers.” (1:07—2:08)

“My mom would be here today if she had seen a physician who said, ‘Linda, this is not right. We need to look into this. We need to address this.’ And I think about how many times we, in dentistry, see patients that are experiencing comorbidities, or we’re looking down the airway of the patient and we know that there’s something going on with this patient. And who are we to withhold that information?” (5:50—6:13)

“Dentistry is very reluctant to change. We are so used to doing the same thing. Hygienists, every hour on the hour, we do the same thing. There’s a profile, sometimes, to an individual who chooses a profession where you do the same thing every hour on the hour, yet you’re extremely educated. So, we’re in a situation where we know too much, and we are screaming to jump out of this rigmarole of 8:00 to 5:00. We know these patients, ‘Oh, yeah. Tim is coming in. He declines that treatment plan every time. Here we go.’ And yet, the reality is, when we start to institute education, that does create an expectation in dentistry to instill change. And it is disruptive.” (15:53—16:40)

“Dentistry is well aware that they are capable of making changes. And yet, when it really comes down to instilling that change, it means that we would have to disrupt what we know. Somebody has to lead that change, and I’m trying to do it.” (17:35—17:49)

“Part of dentistry’s challenge is that we are too buttoned-up. It’s like, unbutton that white lab coat. Calm down. The only way that we’re going to get there and really create the change that we need to see is if we sit down and have the conversations with each other, and stop being so fearful that people are judging us. If you’re struggling to remove that piece of calculus, go ask your colleague next door, ‘Hey, I’m struggling to remove this calculus. I need help,’ instead of ignoring it, and then the patient suffers.” (31:14—31:40)

“The A.S.K technique is how we’re going to use our Assessments to build a Strategy so that our patients Ask us for the treatment based on the knowledge they now have about their disease process.” (32:51—33:02)

“I don’t think it should be about case acceptance. I think it should be about the patient asking us for the treatment. We need our patients to understand the why. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted of trying to talk to patients and convince them they have a disease process they don’t believe they have. So, this is really our way of creating a different dynamic, of shifting that focus to helping the patient confront their disease process through co-discovery.” (33:08—33:34)

“Maybe back in the day, 20, 30, 40 years ago, if you were a doctor in your white lab coat, [patients] believed whatever you said. But now, with WebMD and Dr. Google and all that jazz, people are questioning. They want to know.” (33:47—34:01)

“It’s problem, consequence, solution. If [patients] don’t understand the problem, they don’t care about the consequence. And they sure as heck aren’t going to care about the solution. So, we have to take it back to, how are we going to provide the patient with the knowledge that there is a problem and have them accept that?” (34:25—34:41)

“When you’re in hygiene school, you’re taught how to talk to the patient about periodontal disease. But you are not taught to talk to the patient about some of their barriers. That patient is usually your family member or your friend, and they’re stuck in that chair. Now, you enter the real world, and you have to figure out insurance is a motivator for patients, finances, their time, the patient questioning you because that isn’t your family member or your friend. That’s your 4:00 patient coming in, and they are inquisitive, and they maybe don’t trust you. And so, you have to build that. And how do you build that so that the patient understands the why?” (34:58—35:36)


0:00 Introduction.

0:51 Why perio and pioneer go together.

2:41 Do the right thing for your patients.

6:45 Wine, dentistry, and serving underserved populations.

12:07 Facing opposition as a speaker.

15:03 Challenges in the world of education.

17:52 The WINEgenist story and helping to rebuild Rwanda.

24:48 Katrina’s 9two5 White Blend.

27:09 The five S’s of wine tasting.

29:44 Katrina’s 5two9 Red Blend.

30:30 Where to find Katrina online.

32:23 The A.S.K technique.

34:41 Hygienists need to be equipped with verbal skills.

35:37 Fixing teeth versus changing lives.

37:17 Last thoughts.

Katrina M. Sanders RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF Bio:

In the ever-changing world of dental science where research, technology, and techniques for patient care are constantly evolving, dental professionals look to continuing education to provide insight, deliver actionable steps, empower, and create a dramatic impact within their clinical practice.

With wit, charm, and a dash of humor, Katrina Sanders enchants dental professionals with her course deliverables, insightful content, and delightful inspiration. Her message of empowerment rings mighty throughout her lectures and stirs a deep sense of motivation amongst course participants.

Katrina is the Clinical Liaison for AZPerio, the country’s largest periodontal practice. She performs clinically, working alongside Diplomates to the American Board of Periodontology in the surgical operatory. Katrina perfected techniques during L.A.N.A.P. surgery, suture placement, IV therapy, and blood draws. She instructs on collaborative professionalism and standard-of-care protocols while delivering education through hygiene boot camps and study clubs.


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