Dr Mark HassedYears ago an older dentist said to me that I'd be wise to not treat certain types of very demanding patients. At the time I was building my practice and didn't appreciate the wisdom of his advice. I was desperate for patients — any patients!

It wasn't until a few years later that I realised how right he was. We are not meant to serve all patients.

Some people take more stomach lining than they are worth. They drain you mentally and physically. They are the ones who give you a knot in the stomach when you see their name on the schedule. They are the ones who deplete you so you are less able to look after your good patients.

The moment that I gave myself permission to not have to be everyone's dentist and to move patients on who took too big of a toll on me I was much happier.

Two of the types of patients who I avoid are patients who always come late and patients who say “just patch it up for now and I'll come back later and get it fixed properly”.

Do certain patients give you a pain every time you see them on the schedule? Refer them on to one of your colleagues. You'll be happier and your colleague may even appreciate the referral.

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