The Dawson Academy Blog

Dental Articles on Occlusion, Centric Relation, Restorative Dentistry & More

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How to Eliminate Patient Excuses from your Practice

By Daniel Midson-Short

Can you tell the difference between a genuine patient and one who is making excuses?

No matter how skilled or experienced you are as a dentist, it's likely that you cannot.

A dentist can bond well with a patient, develop a rapport, and they can spend a lot of time in the exam explaining the treatment that they recommend. They can even bring the patient back for an extra consultation and have a beautiful treatment plan prepared.

Despite all this, the patient may not really be interested in the treatment. But, because of everything the dentist has said and done, the patient is now too embarrassed to give an honest ‘no.'

Instead of honesty from the patient, we get polite evasion. They use a range of tactics to defer treatment indefinitely:

  • "I need to think about it"
  • "I need to talk with my wife"
  • "I need to check finances"

Since the obstacles and excuses sound real, the biggest problem for the dentist is that there is no way to distinguish between real obstacles and polite evasion.

This puts the dentist into chase mode, trying to convince or cajole patients into treatment. The more we try to get a patient to have treatment, the better they become at avoiding us; it ends up feeling like a game of cat and mouse. The good news is the whole situation can be avoided if we start with a different approach.

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How to Stop Negative Patients Reactions (with Primespeak)

By Daniel Midson-Short

As a dentist, when diagnosing problems, there is always the chance of patients reacting negatively.

Often, it is about the price of the treatment. Other times, it is because they didn’t realize what is actually happening in their mouth.

There are also larger risks: patients posting negative reviews online or seeking litigation against you for being misinformed.

The key to reducing these risks comes down to clear communication. By using these 4 important techniques from Primespeak you can reduce the risk dramatically.

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The Real Reasons Patients Say I’ll Think About It

By Daniel Midson-Short

For most dentists, their typical day consists of around 7 or more appointments with their patients. All have some sort of discussion around treatment, or at least the suggestion that the patient should consider taking better care of their mouth.

One of the most common responses you hear as a dentist whenever you suggest a course of treatment is the phrase ‘I’ll think about it.

While this might seem encouraging, it is also a smoke screen given by patients so they can sneak out the door of your practice without committing any money or time towards treatment.

Why do so many patients say “I’ll think about it” when what they really mean is “No, I don’t want to”?

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The Best Way to ‘Handle’ Patient Objections

By Daniel Midson-Short

When dentists think about the reasons why patients don't accept treatment, they don’t expect that they may be a major cause to the issue.

Let’s consider a typical new patient exam scenario:

You are seeing a new patient for the first time. There seems to be good rapport and friendly conversation.

Being a professional, you have spent a lot of time explaining the treatment plan you see would be best for the patient. The patient seems to understand the treatment plan and is acting as though they are interested in proceeding with it. They are nodding and agreeing to the treatment details and costs.

However, the moment they leave the exam room, they immediately reverse their position. They ‘change their mind’ at the front desk, and tell the front office person they need time to ‘check finances’ or ‘look at their work schedule.'

Why does this happen?

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Why a New Dental Communication Approach is Needed Today

By Daniel Midson-Short

Medicine and dentistry have made incredible progress during the last century. With that progress, though, there has been other substantial changes in the relationship of the dentist and patient. 

There was a time when it was expected that the doctor adopt a paternalistic role. They were the person who patients trusted to tell them what was wrong and what to do. The patient was given a diagnosis and was expected to follow the good doctor’s advice. 

But times have changed. We now live in the age of the consumer. This means that the patient in your dental chair thinks like a consumer, even when it comes to their health. He or she is much more discerning and does not necessarily blindly follow the doctor’s recommendations. What's more, most dental treatment today is perceived as discretionary and costly.

With this changed mindset in patients, the dentist is caught between being expected to give a clinical opinion, but not trying to ‘sell’ treatment.

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The New Barriers to Patients Accepting Dental Treatment

By Daniel Midson-Short

Dentistry is a human business. No matter how much you wish it was purely clinical or technical, the truth is that it all depends on interactions with people. 

The fact is that to build a successful dental practice, you need to get along with your patients. You need your patients to say yes to your solutions. When they accept treatment, it means your business makes money. All the clinical skills in the world won’t help if your patient says no to treatment.

Many of the barriers that cause patients to avoid treatment are subversive. They are caused by external forces, but it is still important that you know about them. If you know about them, you can be ready and move past them as they occur in your office.

Here are three barriers that cause most dental patients to avoid, or say no to dental treatment. 

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