Treatment plan presentation will vary in methodology from clinician to clinician. Conversion success rates are not always consistent with the type of methodology implemented. One thing being clear, however, is that it is imperative that the clinician effectively communicates how having the outlined treatment completed will benefit the patient.
Experience has taught me that most new patients are skeptical that the dentist is there to take my money, and are leery of aggressive treatment planning on the first visit. I do not refrain from comprehensive treatment planning and I always make sure to completely inform the patients of their needs. I just do not feel the need to sell them the entirety of an overwhelming treatment plan on their first visit. I educate them and encourage them to select the treatment that I know is best for them. They need to trust me before they will buy what I am selling.
Because we are obligated to inform our patients of all oral health concerns we diagnose, we must at the very least disclose the defects we see clinically. This can be done quite appropriately in about 90 seconds, even when considering extensive treatment plans. This does not mean that you are required to provide a financial arrangement to the new patient on the first visit which dictates all the money owed for the entirety of the treatment outlined.
Logically, we are not going to do all the treatment at once anyway, so suffice it for us to disclose the fees associated with the initial phase of treatment. This commonly means the treatment that gets the patient out of pain or that which is in greatest need of immediate attention. Sometimes it is the treatment that the patient desires most, or the patient’s chief complaint.
This approach serves to gently escort your patients into the comfortable environment you have established for them without requiring them to push a wheel barrow full of cash to the doorstep before being allowed entry. You goal is to eventually care for all of your patients’ treatment needs. You will stand a better chance of doing so if you simply do not give them the whole enchilada on the first visit.