Snackable Persuasion: Authority, or
Why I Let My Dentist Put His Hands In My Mouth
I actually like my dentist. He’s a nice, experienced man who is intensely fascinated with dentistry. He also just saved me a tremendous amount of pain and money.
After a routine cleaning, he gave me some priceless advice.
It went something like this:
Him: “Hon, I hate to tell you this. Everybody hates dentists for telling them things. But I have to tell you that you’re molar back there is going to break on you suddenly one day.”
Me: “… ?!? … Mmmphh?” (his hand was still in my mouth)
Him: “Well, this one above it works like a little hammer every time you chew. It’s too long. And at the back of your mouth there honey there’s a lot more force than you think. It’s simple mechanics. Dentists don’t get taught about simple mechanics anymore! *cue speech on modern surgical approaches vs. practical mechanics*”
Me: (eyes widening in horror) “gurrrgle… yes, that feels a lot better without your hand in my mouth, thanks. That’s very interesting! Is there any way to PREVENT my tooth from suddenly breaking one day?”
Him: “Oh sure! It would only take a few seconds with you here and now in the chair. I won’t even charge you anything. Sue, give her a hit of that laughing gas, will you?”
Me: (brightening at the thought of laughing gas, but still unconvinced) “How much will it hurt?”
Him: “Not at all. I’ve done this thousands of times and have never hurt anybody. I promise I won’t hurt you. Will you trust me?”
Me: “Ah… okay.”
In less than a couple minutes, my prior anxiety soothed by laughing gas, I was out the door with a healthier bite and a lot of gratitude. It didn’t hurt and I can tell a difference when I chew. Now I’ll gladly refer him to my friends.
Why did I trust him?
- Experience: He’s been a licensed, practicing dentist for over 40 years.
- Confidence: He’s successfully prevented tooth breakage over an observable period of time, having been in practice in the same community for over 40 years.
- Assurance: He clearly communicated the process, what would happen, why it needed to happen, and how long it would take.