By: Dr. David Sarver

It happens almost daily. Patients ask me what I think about their smile. Whether it is a new patient, a transfer patient, debond patient, post pros patient, surgical patient or a patient in active treatment I always give the same answer. I learned to use this phrase after years of trial and error and I’ve found it to be an effective way of getting to the heart of what the patient thinks and wants. This technique works for lots of psychological and social reasons, but none of that matters. All that matters is that IT WORKS! So, when a patient says to me, “Dr. Sarver, what do you think about my smile?” I always say, “It doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is what you think!”

This simple phrase gets the conversation started on the right foot – with the patient telling me what she/he wants and what she/he feels and what she/he wants to do without me skewing the interaction one way or the other.

Once I know what is important to the patient, I can do a much better job of using my expertise to help. Try it yourself and let me know how it goes.


Dr. Sarver’s list of accomplishments in the field of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is second to none. In fact, he is one of a very elite group of orthodontists who, together, contributed to the texts used to train orthodontists around the world and he’s just getting started. His contributions to the advancements that make both the patient experience and the finished smile better continue to make orthodontics more appealing for kids and adults alike. Plus, his no nonsense approach to communication makes him one of the most sought-after teachers in the world. To view a few of his patient’s stories and see the kind of impact orthodontics can have on people’s lives, visit and check out his website at