Take the First Step

Feb 01, 2010 No Comments by

What is the first step for the dentist? Is it dental school? Of course you have worked so hard and prepared well. Is it the latest and greatest dental technology? Is it hiring a consultant? Is it getting the most up-to-date office design?

Other questions must be answered as well. Is the first step the marketing strategy? Is it establishing yourself as a “cosmetic” or “white-collar” practice? Is it treating only a few patients each day? Is it working out of multiple rooms daily?

More questions beg to be answered. Is the first step hiring an experienced team or rather an inexperienced team so you can train them up the way you want them to be? Is it about having the most continuing education hours in your study club? The knowledge and skills you have gained are truly worthy of focus.

The first step to successful dentistry is simple. Just as patients choose you, you must CHOOSE THEM! Your actions will make all the difference in your practice.

Choose to invite patients into your practice.


Choose to treat patients as if they are your only patient for the day. Choose to never make them feel as if they are interrupting your schedule. Choose to be friendly and helpful over the telephone. Choose to invite patients into your practice. Choose to recognize that every time patients call it presents important opportunity for your office and the patients. Choose to help patients understand that they have chosen the right office and you are so glad they did. Choose to let your team listen both actively and reflectively to patients. Choose to get to know patients before beginning dental treatment.

The list goes on. Choose to really listen to patients’ chief concerns and address them with care. While the ultimate goal may be a comprehensive exam, that won’t always happen on the first visit. This is when you choose to slow down so that you can speed up later.

Choose to offer patients comprehensive treatment. Avoid prequalifying patients or prejudging them by the way they dress, what they drive, or where they live. As a dentist, you are a leader and should set the example.

Ready for additional ways to set your practice apart? Choose to provide the best dentistry available today. If you are unsure of your technical skills, choose to upgrade them at a highly regarded clinical program. Arrowhead Dental Laboratory, for example, offers top-of-the-line mentors ready to teach, answer, and guide you.

Choose to offer services to help patients fit treatment into their budgets. Choose every day to give hope to all patients, even those who cannot say yes to comprehensive treatment at this time.

Choose to be supportive of patients who cannot say yes yet to comprehensive treatment. When their circumstances change, they will come to you for treatment.

Choose to be patient. Never give up! If you choose well, you will likely realize wonderful monetary returns as well as increased satisfaction. If you ever feel that things are awry, ask yourself a simple question. Is the focus on me or them? While on this journey, if you insist on measuring your success, place the tape around your heart rather than just your head. Next, go back to the first step for helping your patients feel valued. CHOOSE THEM!

Insights, Winter 2010

About the author

Tawana Coleman has been a practice development trainer with the Dr. Dick Barnes Group for more than twenty years. She has worked with thousands of dental practices. The structure that she teaches has empowered dental practices across the country to dramatically increase production.
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