Weeding Out “Difficult” Dental Patients

Do you have to be everyone’s dentist? While you may wish that you connected well with every patient in your chair and that everyone wanted you as their dentist, there are some patients who are just not a good fit for your practice. Maybe the difficult patient is consistently rude to you and your team or is always non-compliant with treatment recommendations or is always cancelling at the last minute.

Consider how you and your team react when you see the name of a difficult patient on your schedule. That one appointment can be enough to stress you out for the entire week. But does it have to be that way? Fortunately, you can make the situation better.

Dental Practice

Some practices have successfully dealt with difficult patients by having a frank discussion with them, whether the conversation is led by the dentist or a key member of the team. Sometimes people are unaware of how rudely they come across or how they are not being considerate of your schedule, for example. Difficult patients have been known to change their ways, making what is often a challenging conversation for dentists and teams very rewarding.

In other cases, you may not believe the patient relationship is salvageable. When that happens, it is typically better to dismiss the patient instead of riding the stress rollercoaster whenever that person’s name appears on the schedule. After you finally dismiss a problematic patient, you may sound like someone who finally has treatment for a toothache: “I wish I would have done that a long time ago.”

Decision Making

Difficult patients are very stressful. That is why it’s important to weed out the difficult patients in order to make room for people who really appreciate you and your team.

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