Inside Dentistry
August 2016
Volume 12, Issue 8

Begin with the Chief Complaint

Typically a new patient schedules with a single concern, even if their exam eventually reveals multiple treatment needs. The good thing is that this concern is usually what needs to be treated first. Before throwing a huge list of proposed procedures at them, address the chief complaint in plain English.

Schedule the Chief Complaint

Make sure the patient fully understands the need for the procedure and exactly what will be done. Secure financial arrangements that are comfortable for them. Never have a patient owe you money after treatment begins. If they can’t pay in full, utilize an outside financing source such as CareCredit.

The 90-second, $20,000 Treatment Plan

With the exam completed and the chief complaint explained and scheduled, it’s time to talk about the remainder of the necessary treatment. But that doesn’t mean you need to scare the patient away with a line-by-line high-pressure presentation.

Try something like this instead: “Mrs. Weller, you do have some treatment needs that go beyond the broken tooth on the upper left. Your gums have some infection and are inflamed, and if not treated, this could eventually damage the bone that surrounds your teeth. So after we take care of the tooth on the upper left, the next step is to schedule you with our fantastic hygienist Becky, so she can show you how we can get your gums healthy again. You also have three other teeth with large broken-down fillings, and they will require the same type of treatment. As you know, you are missing a tooth on the upper right and lower right, and there are some ways we can replace those to stop your teeth from shifting and make your bite strong again. You also mentioned that you didn’t like the way those two front teeth appear. Once everything else is complete, we can talk about doing a great smile makeover for you. But first, let’s take care of that one on the lower left. Then we can proceed at a pace that is comfortable for you.”

That was easily a $20,000 treatment plan presented in 90 seconds in a friendly, low pressure manner.

Some patients may complete the treatment in a matter of months; for others it could take years. The key is that everything was presented comfortably without scaring the patient away.

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