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3 minutes reading time (500 words)

Dental Consultant Tip: Dentistry's Dirtiest Word

Dental Consultant Tip: Dentistry's Dirtiest Word

Disclaimer: The word I am about to define is not for the faint of heart. Macho men have been known to turn into quivering bowls of Jello when even uttering this word.


1) Income received for goods and services over some given period of time.

2) An act of completion of a commercial activity.

3) Operating revenues earned by a company.

OK, now for the ugly part. You still have time to stop reading. I’ll give those of you who want to leave the room a few seconds before I continue. For those of you brave enough here goes:

The above definitions are for the word “sales”.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! You should have warned us!!!!!”

Okay, maybe I’m over doing it just a little, but you have to admit, most dentists and their staff would rather hear fingernails scratching a chalkboard than utter the words “selling dentistry”. This is so true that in dentistry we call it “treatment presentation” or “case acceptance”.

Why has it become so taboo to even mention the word “selling” in the dental industry? Mainly because the word “sales” has been associated with doing anything and everything to unjustly separate a man from his hard earned wages.

But, if your true intentions are to help patients overcome their fears and objections to get the treatment you know they absolutely need, then you’re on the right track. The simple fact is that you ARE going to have to get those patients through their fears, worries and objections somehow.

“Sales” is a vital part to any business – including yours.

So here’s another pointer to increase your closing rate (oops, I mean case acceptance.) It’s going to make you a bit squeamish though. After you’ve presented the treatment to the patient, ask them a closing question (oops, I mean a case presentation empowerment inquiry.) Did you faint? Are you still with me? Okay. It’s easier than you think.

Just ask the patient, “Are you committed to fixing this problem?” The patient’s answer will tell you immediately if they didn’t understand what needs to be done or what will happen to their dental health if they don’t do it.

If you’ve done a good job in presenting the treatment that needs to be done, your patient will say, “yes.” If you don’t ask this question, you’re leaving it to your Treatment Coordinator to explain the treatment. Trust me when I tell you that you are more qualified than your Financial Arranger to sell (oops, I mean present and educate) the patient on the treatment. 


Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at 

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Our 25th Year | Grow Your Practice 

There is the good, the bad and the ugly of dental practice management, but many dentists will still tell you the probability is your dental consulting will work if you and your consultant are on the same page. It stands to reason that if a dental consultant had little value, worth or benefit that consultant could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long.  A veteran dental consultant is also a "personal coach" who shold bring management wisdom based on "in the trenches" experience along with systems and protocols to that have been successfully implemented in other practices. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what systems work and don't across many dental practices. 


New Patient Phone Call

Insurance Processing

New Patient Experience and Patient Education

Financial Arrangements



Unscheduled Treatment 


Daily and Weekly Checklists

General Policy Manual 

Staff Accountability

What gets monitored, gets managed. It is as simple as that. The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue for re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee.


What most practice owners are lack in knowledge is not how to book an appointment, but rather how to be an effective leader. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply. 

Questions To Ask 

  1. Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?

  2. Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.

  3. If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.

  4. Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.

  5. The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.  


Top Dental Practice Mangement Consultant

Shane Blake DDS Coudersport, PA

My name is Kevin Tighe. Consultant. Coach. Mentor.

My mission is to advise, recommend and help implement proven systems to grow your practice . 

Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually partner and now sole owner. 


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