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This time around, I want to talk about how you’re failing your patients by not selling them advanced dental services. This happens frequently, and I realize it’s almost entirely to do with your own feelings about selling, or about how a patient might appear in terms of ability to pay. I want to share a story with you that will help illustrate why we need to be offering these services to patients who need them.

We had a patient come into the office and say that she wanted to change her smile. She wasn’t happy with it, and she wanted to know exactly what we could do to change it. Based on a snap judgment, you wouldn’t think this patient would be able to pay for advanced treatment. Instead of recommending just a minimalist treatment, I outlined a good/better/best scenario for her including all the risks, the pros and cons of each path, and more.

When we were done, she told me I was the first dentist who ever gave her those options. They all gave her smaller milestones, little fixes. No one ever presented real options, and she thanked me for being the first person to take her seriously.

The moral of the story is that just a few years later, this person has an entirely new smile – a full reconstruction. She got the job she wanted, and the new smile she needed. You can see the change in her. It’s incredible. Her energy level is high, and her personality is completely different.

My question is this – why are you not presenting the very best options for every patient? In my opinion, if you’re not, it’s your ethical, moral and even legal obligation to do so. If you have a service that can benefit a patient, why would you hold back? That’s almost malpractice. You don’t have to be pushy. Just outline what you can offer so they have the information needed to make an informed decision.

I realize that this is pretty common in our industry. Maybe you don’t like to sell. Perhaps you don’t think that a patient can afford that particular treatment. Whatever the case might be, we need to get over it and move on. Really, it all comes down to helping people, and that’s why you got into the profession in the first place. You became a dentist to serve people and help them. You can’t do that if they don’t have information about all the treatment options available to them. You can’t do that by holding back.

Serving your patients means informing them about all the options they have available to them, whether you think they can afford them or not, or whether you feel comfortable selling those treatments or not. It’s also important that everyone in the practice be on board with this – you need to make sure that your team members understand this. If you have a treatment or service that could benefit a patient, why in the world would you hold back on it?