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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 is a senior faculty member. She has practiced dentistry in Atlanta since 1994 and lectures on esthetic dentistry. 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.