The French Mathematician Renee Descartes once said, “The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt.” If Descartes was alive today and in your dental chair, he would certainly push back after you recommended treatment. And not because he thought you were wrong.
Descartes would act like a lot of people, asking questions to remove doubt. When we’re on the receiving end of this it’s easy to assume the person is not interested or doesn’t trust us, when in reality it’s just how some people process decisions.
If a dental patient asks you if treatment is really needed, this push back does not signal retreat. In fact, it signals “victory” is close. Help remove lingering doubt, clarifying certain points, and / or restate your findings in patient-friendly language and you will guide patients to doing what is best for them.
Stand sincerely behind your treatment recommendations and resistance will often soften. However, when dentists water-down what they know is the best course of treatment to try and accommodate perceived resistance, they often create more doubt. Patients are incorrectly trained to believe they have to push back to get at what the dentist truly recommends—almost like you do when buying a car.
Patients have never needed more reassurance than they do right now. Invite questions and do not cringe at the start of patient push-back. Remember, the patient is actually extending you an invitation. Use this opportunity to guide patients to the best course of treatment.