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4 Tips to Providing Complete Dentistry in a Down Economy

Angie Gribble Hedlund DMDBy Angie Gribble Hedlund, DMD @AngieHedlund

I think often in an economic climate like this, we hear complaints so frequently about our fees and “money being tight” that we automatically begin to suggest compromises for many of our patients. We say that we are going to “watch” things or suggest an alternative treatment and assume our patients won’t go for what is best for them. This is certainly not the best way to maintain a financially healthy practice, and it is also not what’s best for the patient.

Here are some things I learned from Pete Dawson that have helped me maintain a successful practice in a down economy:
  1. Everyone deserves a complete exam.
  2. Don’t pre-judge who may or may not be interested in or have the money to carry out a complete treatment plan.
  3. Don’t take short cuts in your treatment planning process. This can result in problems and backtracking later.
  4. Take an interest in people; learn about them and get to know them. Finding a connecting point can turn even the grumpiest sour puss into a raving fan.
People deserve to know if there are problems or potential problems with their mouth or chewing system- things that could cause them pain or extra expense in the future. We need to give them the option to be proactive and treat these issues while they have a more conservative solution. Don’t let the economic climate dictate your treatment plan. Prescribe what’s best for the patient, and if financial objections arise, provide ways for them to stage their treatment so it is manageable but still enables them to achieve an optimal result. This is what is most beneficial for the practice and the patient.

Like this article? Read another article: The Value of Education to Patients.


Dr. Angela Gribble Hedlund completed her undergraduate training at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree. She received her DMD from the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry in Augusta Georgia, and has completed an ADA-accredited program in Advanced General Dentistry at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Hedlund practiced with Goldstein, Garber, & Salama for 16 years, and have recently opened a private practice in North Atlanta. She has practiced dentistry in Atlanta since 1994. Dr. Hedlund has also received extensive training in esthetic dentistry. She has received her certificate in the Postgraduate Program in Esthetic Dentistry from Baylor, as well as completing the Comprehensive Esthetic Restorative Continuum at the same institution. During her postgraduate studies at the Medical College of Georgia, she was awarded the Goldstein Esthetic Dentistry Award, presented yearly to a senior student who has shown exceptional interest and talent in the area of esthetic dentistry. She is an active member in the Georgia Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry where she is currently an accreditation candidate. Dr. Hedlund is an active contributor to organized dentistry. This began when she served as the first female president of an MCG dental class, and a representative to the American Student Dental Association executive council. She is currently a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, American Dental Association, Georgia Dental Association, the Hinman Dental Society, and the Academy of General Dentistry, where she has completed over 1,500 hours of continuing education in dental studies. She has received her Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry; this is an honor held by fewer than 2% of dentists in the country. In July 2006 she became one of the youngest women ever to receive Mastership in this Academy. Dr. Gribble also is on the dental advisory council for the Christian Medical Dental Assocation. Dr. Gribble has published articles in the Journal of Esthetic Dentistry and the Journal of the American Dental Association. She has served as a contributing editor to the Dental Study Club Journal, which contains reviews from leading clinicians on articles from over seventy-five international dental journals. She also lectures on the subjects of restorative and esthetic dentistry. Dr. Gribble paid for a large portion of her education and received lots of “smile practice” in the Miss America Scholarship programs. She was 2nd runner-up in Miss Augusta in 1991, and 2nd runner-up in Tennessee’s America Junior Miss Pageant in 1985. Dr. Angie Gribble Hedlund enjoys singing, scrapbooking, and is a master scuba diver. She is an active member of the Atlanta Women’s Medical Alliance and Bible Study Fellowship where she serves as the Substitute Teaching Leader for the Norcross Women’s class. She and her husband Richard are members of Roswell United Methodist Church. They volunteer regularly with the children’s program there with their 2 daughters Tori and Lexi.