Dr Mark HassedMuch of our success or failure in life can be put down to how we get our message across. If we communicate well we succeed, if we communicate poorly we fail.

Here's a common scenario. A patient is booked in to have a problem dealt with, say a toothache or a chipped tooth. You deal with the problem and then the patient says the immortal words: “While you're there can you have a quick look and see if there is anything else that needs doing”?

Agreeing to do so leads to disaster.

The patient has said the words “quick look” and the moment you do that you are devaluing diagnosis — the essential basis on which excellent practices are built. You've become a quick, careless, “whip 'em in, whip 'em out” dentist.

How I'd handle that patient question is to say: “I'm sorry but they've only allowed enough time today to fix your problem. If you'd like we can get you back next week for a comprehensive examination.”

Successful dentists do thorough, comprehensive examinations. Low producing dentists do “quick looks”.

How do you communicate about what you do?

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