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Belfast Study Club - 22 September 2016

The Emotion Behind the Patient

Presented by: Michael Bentley
Date: 22 September 2016
Time: 1900 Refreshments 1930 Lecture
Location: Crowne Plaza, Shaws Bridge, Belfast, Ireland, BT8 7XP

My lecture is called “The emotion behind the patient”. Emotion there’s a powerful word, we all know that is very much part of dentistry and you may have been told that you need to emotionally connect with your patients, but how do you actually do that in reality?

In my practice managers position in 2006 I got to develop my journey as a treatment coordinator (TCO) alongside my managerial duties. The day I stepped into a TCO role I knew it was for me and that I was a natural at building a relationship with a patient. I often wondered why patients, whom sometimes I had met for less than 5 minutes would start crying with me or laughing outrageously or simply telling me what they wanted so that I could get their dental experience right. My colleagues would say how do you do that? I started to think about how I did manage that and then I realised that I gave the patients permission to tell me their story. I would sit back and listen over a cuppa and allow them to talk and talk, I would show them I was listening, give empathy where needed and ask suitable questions to help me to build a timeline of their dental history and how this had made them feel.

I have crafted my TCO experience over many years and harnessed my skills to create robust systems so that I could support other team members in my practice in becoming a TCO. 4 years ago I met Laura Horton at my first speaking event. Laura and I hit it off immediately, Laura said “we have to work together”. Laura and I are from the grass roots of dentistry, we are both DCP’s and have been TCO’s and Practice Mangers in private and mixed practice. It is this shared experience in dentistry that has provided us with a synergy to amalgamate our knowledge banks and support practices with one to one coaching, whilst developing a set of unique courses for dental team members.

In my lecture, I want to share with you a unique opportunity that arose this year that I want to share with you. I want to introduce you to Yvonne who has undergone 4 implant placements to support an implant retained denture. I have interviewed Yvonne about her journey right from the start of seeing a GDP, being referred for a specialist perio assessment, to having the implant supported denture placed by Phillip Morris (Clinical denture technician). Yvonne’s story has many key stages and I interviewed Yvonne at length about her treatment and the emotion she felt throughout her experience. I did not want to leave it there as I wanted to to discover all sides of Yvonne’s journey. I was lucky enough that Dr Carl Horton granted me an interview and agreed to talk candidly about Yvonne’s case alongside his dental implant coordinator Kate Bootman. These interviews have provided me with a rare insight into what each party really felt and how their journeys have confirmed the emotional aspect that every dentist need to understand, in order to provide implant care at their practices.

If you are general dentist or a referral implant specialist providing implant care, you will go away understanding the solutions that you need, to put into your practice, to get to the heart of the patient story and the benefits this will provide you and your dental team.


Since 1999 Michael has been a Practice Manager both within Optics and Dentistry. In 2000 he became the Practice Manager of Boots Dentalcare in Birmingham. Boots Dentalcare delivered the highest standard of training and development to all its staff and Michael gained much experience in his 5 years of working in this systemised environment.

Michael has a business diploma in Distribution Management. Michael has also been a treatment coordinator. Michael is a qualified and GDC registered DCP.

Michael moved direction after Boots Dentalcare sold into independent practice to JM Dentalcare. Michael was Practice Manager for JM Dentalcare for 11 years and was instrumental in the growth and development of the whole team, showing how a Practice Manager with autonomy can achieve great success.

Michael has been a business development consultant with Horton Consulting since August 2012. Michael has coached many dental practices for Horton in many parts of the U.K, Ireland, Spain and Italy. Michael works alongside Laura Horton to provide exclusive courses for Horton consulting which include, a six day practice manager course, TCO LIVE and Reception LIVE a unique course where Laura and Michael perform a series of live role so that delegates can understand how to communicate to the highest levels.

Michael has provided one day courses for a number of highly recognised dental businesses such as Quality Plan, Straumann, Clear Braces, Invisalign, Practice Plan U.K ,Henry Schein and the ITI. Michael is a semi professional actor and singer and often can be seen treading the boards. Michael is currently filming for a new dancing television show set to air in 2017. Michael’s performance experience has been added into his consulting and presenting style, which makes him very engaging. Feedback from delegates is always full of praise for delivering real substance with plenty of style.

In July 2016 Michael decided to leave practice management and focus solely on consultancy, not only to achieve a work life balance but to work on his passions full time.

Location and Further Actions

Dr Derek Bingham