Dr Mark HassedFrom time to time patients ask me things like “Do I need to have my teeth whitened?” or “Do I need braces?”

My instant reply is always: “No, absolutely not!”

No one needs white teeth or straight teeth. The question I ask the patients is “Do you want white (or straight) teeth?”

Even with respect to serious things like periodontal disease my approach is the same. A patient I saw a while ago had severe periodontal disease.

I told them about it and they started asking lots of questions and disputing the treatment suggestion.

Instead of spending 30 minutes or more trying to convince this skeptical patient I cut through all that as follows:

“You don't have to have the treatment. They're your teeth so it's your call. If you don't have the treatment the gum disease will progress and my opinion is that within 5 to 7 years you will start losing teeth but it's 100% up to you.”

The effect was miraculous.

Instead of me pushing them they suddenly started telling me why they needed the treatment. Once they released that I had no skin in the game, that I didn't care whether they had the treatment or not they became instantly accepting and stopped arguing.

Next time you get an argumentative patient try not arguing back and see the effect.


The Art of Case Acceptance is on again. Learn how to get patients to accept the treatment they need.

Melbourne 25 February – click for details.

Sydney 8 April – click for details.

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