Your choice of words matters: Part 1

July 21, 2010
Semantics is defined as “the study of meaning in language.” Meaning directs thinking, creates emotion, and produces action. Dr. Nate Booth tells you why these three results are not to be taken lightly in your practice.

By Dr. Nate Booth

Let’s look at a series of word pairs that could be used in the dental setting. Which part of these pairs sends the message you want your patients to hear?

  • staff vs. team
  • waiting room vs. reception area
  • drill vs. handpiece
  • cut a tooth vs. shape a tooth
  • appointment vs. visit
  • interview vs. initial conversation
  • tell vs. advise
  • case presentation vs. case conversation
  • checkup vs. continuing care visit
  • cancellation vs. change in the schedule
  • pay vs. invest
  • discount vs. savings
  • bill vs. statement
  • pay for vs. take care of
  • contract vs. agreement
  • work vs. care
  • filling vs. restoration

You might be saying, “This is just semantics.” You’re exactly right — it is semantics. The definition of the word “semantics” is the study of meaning in language. Meaning directs thinking, creates emotion, and produces action — three results not to be taken lightly.

Author bio
Dr. Nate Booth is a speaker, consultant, and author who provides dentists with the information and systems they need to thrive in their dental practices. Dr. Booth is a practice-management advisor for ChaseHealthAdvance. He is the creator of the in-office, DVD-based program, The “Yes” System: How to Make It Easy for People to Accept Comprehensive Dentistry. For more information, go to, or call (800) 917-0008.