Recently I fielded a question from a concerned client regarding the way in which an associate dentist was treatment planning his patients. The question and answer are presented below:
Dear Dr Logan,
Kudos on a great book. My question to you is, how do you
motivate a clinically great dentist with no business sense? Two and half years into private practicing he is still treatment planning based on what he ‘thinks’ patients can afford. Can you direct me to a resource to help me help him? Thanks for
Thank you for your inquiry. The best resource I can give you is an answer from personal experience. I have had associates in the past who maintained this style and the best way to redirect their thinking was to have a dedicated sit down with them and spell out the reasons why this thinking is not good for the patients and not the way people who are seeking treatment in your private practice would like to be treated.
For example, treating problems with patchwork dentistry almost always requires further, more extensive and more expensive treatment down the road. This happens sooner than five years in most cases. Therefore, when we fail to provide optimum care up front, the patient will be saddled with redoing inadequate restorations (such as large fillings when crowns were the ideal long-term solution) or even losing teeth that could have been saved. No patient wants this, and no one wants to pay for things twice. These things happen in patchwork practices all the time.
You should point out your degree of experience, which is bound to be greater than your associate’s, which reveals the failure with these restorations. People are coming to you for the best you can give them, so the associate needs to understand that not providing this is failing the patient. Presenting your case in this manner will enlighten your associate doctor as the benefits to the patients of treating with optimal dentistry and relieve you of the impression that you are merely out to increase your profit.
I hope you have found this information helpful. Best of luck with this and please follow up to apprise me of the results you will obtain from this.
One thing to always impart to your patients when discussing treatment needs is that there will never be a time again that will allow you to treat more conservatively and more affordably than optimally treating the condition right now.