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Yes or No is a No-No

Yes or No is a No-No

Do you ask your patient "Do you understand?"

If you do, you're losing a lot of income. That's what all dentists do.

Dentists tell patients they need to do this, this and this, rapid-fire style, throw patients terms that they probably don’t understand like "leaky margins" and then says, “Any questions?”

So the patients go merrily along their way to the dental financial arranger and ask what procedure will their dental insurance cover and then say, “Okay that's what I want to do.”

Many dentists never really got the patient to realize what needs to be done and why it needs to done. And most dentists never really spot that fact because they ask the patient a “yes or no” question such as “Any questions?” or, “Do you understand?”

So as a consultant when I’m consulting a client I’ll give them a very fast and detailed dissertation on computer hardware. I do this until I can see their eyes have glazed over and then I ask them how they feel. They almost always say that they wanted me to stop talking five minutes ago. That’s the way patients feel when you throw terms like “leaky margins” at them.

How it should be done is give them drawings or sketches to show what is wrong with the tooth and show them the stages of deterioration that will happen if nothing is done along with the costs associated with fixing each stage of deterioration. Steven Gordon makes these fantastic diagrams for dentists. They’re great because they are really good illustrations and there are no technical terms on them.

Then I ask them questions like this: “What do you think will happen if you don't do anything about it? Which of those three treatments do you want to do?” Or, “Did you know you were walking around with an infection 24 hours a day and 7 days a week? Well, how do you think that might affect your immune system?” Or, “Which way are you going on this chart if you don't do something to stop this process?”

Weak link in your office?
“The Devil Incarnate”?

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