Every patient should be asked to state the chief complaint. This can be accomplished on a fofm the patient completes, or the patient’s answers should be transcribed (preferably verbatim) into the dental record during the initial interview. This statement helps the clinician establish priorities during history taking and treatment planning. In addition, by having patients formulate a chief complaint, they are encouraged to clarify for themselves and the clinician why they desire treatment. Occasionally a hidden agenda may exist for the patient, either consciously or subconsciously. In such circumstances, subsequent information elicited from the patient interview may reveal the true reason the patient is seeking care.