Are You Firm Or Flaccid?

So I recently overheard a phone caller to a dental practice.

The caller had phoned up and said that they were calling because they were overdue for a cleaning appointment.

During the call the caller had stated that they couldn’t remember the last time they visited this dentist.

And then the caller said this:

“There’s a couple of fillings he [the dentist] wants to do”

Here’s my take:

The practice has let the patient down if the patient is overdue for a hygiene visit and the patient cannot remember when their previous hygiene visit was.

Why was this patient allowed to slip through the cracks?

Also the words the patient used are a definite area of concern.

“There’s a couple of fillings he [the dentist] wants to do”

The patient/caller should have said:

“I have two teeth with decay. The decay needs to be removed and the teeth need to be restored.”

Because the words that the caller used show no urgency or ownership of a dental problem.

The words that the caller used imply that the fillings are the CHOICE of the dentist, whereas the reality is that the dentist is really only performing necessary treatment in removing disease from this patient’s mouth.

Now, maybe the dentist did speak to the patient in terms of urgency and pathology, but I’m figuring by the COMPLETE LACK OF URGENCY shown on the part of the caller, that the dentist and his team did not recommend a CLEAR NEXT STEP.

So many times I hear patients cancel appointments for treatment that has been diagnosed but presented so insipidly that the patient feels no urgency at all in terms of removing the disease and pathology from their mouth.

“It’s just a cleaning.”

“It’s only a little chip…”

“It’s not a big filling…”

Stop using softening language and call it what it is.

It is pathology that does not heal itself.

“Would you like a small filling this week or would you like to leave it go and let it the decay get bigger and deeper and closer to the nerve?”

Those of us who have been around a while have all seen an unrestored tooth that has vertically fractured and needed extraction….

“Just be careful and eat on the other side of your mouth…”

As if that’s the answer….

The simple fact is this:

The biggest problem with dentists is apathy.

Apathy towards presenting necessary treatment to every patient.

Apathy towards employing the wrong people who through either poor training or no training or no supervision make poor decisions that impact adversely on the financial health of the dental practice.

And these poor decisions then impact the lifestyle and retirement choices of the dentist.

“I could never take THAT MUCH TIME off from my practice”

“I could never retire that young”

“I could never afford a holiday to there…”

Apathy towards taking responsibility for their future.

Not making a decision to do something is in itself a decision.

And it’s a pretty weak decision.

Dr. Omer Reed told me that in the USA 95% of dentists reaching the age of 65 cannot afford to retire on an income equivalent to what they earned as a dentist.

And that’s a tragedy…

Stop making apathetic excuses.

Take a look in the mirror and say hello to your future self.

And say goodbye to your flaccid past….


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