The ideal patients are already within your practice, the question is do you know who they are?


As a dental practice management consultant, my job is to assess client's strengths and weaknesses and come up with specific solutions to get them closer to their goal. One of the most commonly complaints that I hear is, " I don't have any cosmetic cases" or " I don't have the types of patients who ask for a full set of dental implants". However, when I ask the same clients to present their cases on a weekly basis with photographs and x-rays, I notice that most dentists do not see the opportunities when present itself. Why?

The #1 reason, is most doctors are not trained well in diagnosing elective dentistry. They are trained to diagnose most functional problems but lack the skills to know , "what looks good and what could be improved?". The second reason is their lack of ability to communicate elective dentistry in a way to elicit emotional desires in patients.

Diagnosing elective dentistry requires a two-way communication with patients. In traditional dental models, dentists are trained to come up with a list of dental problems and offer treatment solutions. If the patient is in pain or have a visible problem such as broken or a missing tooth, this type of treatment planning could work. However, using the same way in diagnosing elective treatment can come across as if the dentist is trying to sell an expensive and often unnecessary dentistry. I train my dentist clients in the art of questioning rather than simply prescribing treatment recommendations that often faces resistance by patients. This all starts with first the dentist and the team to become good in diagnosis of normal conditions vs. ideal conditions followed by showing patients their dental photos and simply ask their opinion about various scenarios. Here is an example:

During a clinical examination, it is discovered that the patient has generalized gingival recession that is affecting the esthetics of the teeth by making them look elongated. Instead of recommending the patient various treatment solutions and risking to lose the patient because of the complexity of the treatment or the cost, I recommend interviewing the patient in the following manner to gaug