There are four qualities that help a person be more successful in dentistry.
Being empathetic. They‘re able to get into the same emotional space as the patients. They connect with them wherever they are. Even though it’s not taught in dental schools, it may be the single most important quality in dental success.
Instant likability. Dentistry is largely small talk with patients. You have a limited amount of time to connect and make an impact.
Warm and welcoming. Make sure that your people who are on the front line dealing with patients every day are warm and welcoming, especially those answering the phone.
A few years ago, a friend of mine became a patient at my practice. While he was there, he shared with me about his past experiences. Apparently, his previous dentist never talked to him. The dentist would come in and look in his mouth, then instruct the assistant or hygienist, and he would leave. My friend said he had more conversation in his first visit with us than he had in decades with this other dentist. Being warm and welcoming is really important.
Being attractive. Attractive people have more success than unattractive people. Some people may take offense to that, but the research on it is clear (see Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion). Candidates don’t have to be models but they shouldn’t be unattractive. Multiple facial piercings will be considered unattractive in my area, for example. Candidates should be attractive in both personality and appearance. Patients have high expectations for the appearance of their health care provider.