Trying to control patients

Posted on Updated on

Dr Mark HassedI so often get questions from dentists along these lines: “Patients are doing X. How do I stop them?”

The dentists usually want a few magic words they can say that will force the patient to act in a certain way.

Typical examples are:

  • “Patients want to get their dentistry done in Thailand. How do I stop them?”
  • “Patients want to go to a technician for their denture. How do I stop them?”
  • “Patients want their teeth pulled out. How do I stop them?”

The simple answer to all these questions is to stop trying to control patients. Trying to control people and force them into a course of action is futile, frustrating and possibly immoral. Adults need to make their own decisions without coercion.

Attempting to control people is also counter productive from another viewpoint.

It’s paradoxical but, the more you try and steer people, the less likely they are to be steered. And, the more you respect people’s right to make their own decisions, the more likely they are to accept your advice.

So, if you ever find yourself wondering how to control patients, stop. Back it down a few notches and remember that your job is to listen then offer considered, unbiased advice.

But, ultimately, whether they accept that advice is not something you can (or should) control.


Come to Melbourne on 15 October or Brisbane on 6 November to hear “The Art of Case Acceptance”. Click here for details and to register.

Leave a Reply