By Ali Majikes/Special to

Picture this: you’re an hour into your root canal procedure. You can’t stop fidgeting, you’re anxious and the sound of the handpiece is making your skin crawl.

Then your dentist utters two little words put you over the edge: “uh-oh”

“Dentists say silly stuff all the time,” Dr. Phillip Devore said. “They’re trained to drill holes in little things and fill them with stuff, but it’s not enough.”

According to an article on, that’s why Devore, who has been practicing dentistry for 20 years, teaches a communications class at UNLV School of Dental Medicine designed to prepare students for post-grad life as dentists in real-world situations.

The class covers chairside manner and methods to communicate with patients (when dental instruments are not in their mouth, of course,) which Devore said dentists aren’t always great at.

“Don’t go into a conversation with your mouth open,” Devore tells students. “Go in with your mouth closed and your brain open. Think about how you want the conversation to turn out.”

Devore explains that the keys to sharing bad news with a patient is explaining everything clearly and in layman’s terms.

He also puts a major emphasis on the dentist relationship with the patient, stating simply that “patients want to work with someone they like.”

To read the whole story about Dr. Devore and his class at UNLV: