Type to search

Professional Issues Supporting Your Practice

Communication in the dental practice: Dr. Cheryl Cable speaks about the issue of patient vs. client


Dentist and PatientOne of CDA Oasis priority topics for 2015 is Communication and its role in the success of the dental practice. As “language is the garment of thought”, communication determines who we are and how we think about ourselves vis-à-vis the other. In this context, the use of the word patient or client to describe the recipient of oral health care services may be significant for dentists. In this video interview, Dr. Cheryl Cable opens up the conversaation around this topic and invites your reactions and feedback. 

Dr. Cheryl Cable is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta. She practices dentistry part-time in a multidisciplinary private practice with a focus on functional rehabilitation. Edmonton born and raised, Dr. Cable received her BSc, DDS and MBA degrees from the University of Alberta. She went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for Prosthodontic and Maxillofacial Prosthodontic specialty training completed in 2001. Dr. Cable is a board certified specialist in Prosthodontics as well as an examiner for the RCDC(C). She is a dental consultant for the Province of Alberta on oral health care specialty programs.

Watch the Video

Whether you would like to remain anonymous or speak to us on camera about this issue, we welcome your views about this topic. Please leave a comment in the textbox below or contact us at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca 

Your Name (Optional)

In your view, how significant is the shift from the use of “patient” vs. “client” in the language of dentistry?

Your Message




  1. Anonymous April 7, 2015

    excellent topic. It will only be a shift if we as a profession allow it. Why would we?

  2. Lyneham Dental Care August 1, 2016

    We use the term patient as we provide medical type services to our dental ‘patients’. However we also understand the term patient can also mean ‘one off’ (similar to customer), whereas ‘client’ in the business world is recurring or receives ongoing or long term services – like our ‘regular patients’. It would certainly be a paradigm shift in our practice to change our terminology from patient to client.

    Interesting topic!

  3. Anonymous December 6, 2018

    As a chiropractor, we always use the term “patients”, not “clients”.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: