How to spot a difficult dental patient

Oct. 26, 2023
When your patient says the last four dentists couldn’t get her front teeth right, what makes you think you’ll be the one who can fix the problem? Learn to recognize difficult patients for what they are.

If you want less stress, fewer phone calls, and less need to call your malpractice insurer, learn to spot difficult patients BEFORE you initiate dental treatment.

Sometimes these patients are disguised as cute little old ladies who walk in with a bag of dentures that don’t fit. Take your cape off—there’s a reason this sweet grandma has a bag of dentures, and it isn’t likely that the last four dentists couldn’t make a good one.

Sometimes these patients are well-put-together business types, and you see some glimmer of a reason why they dislike their brand-new smile. Unless you see big issues that are entirely logical to fix, beware.

Ask questions first. For example, what exactly don’t they love about those dentures or that new smile? How was the previous dentist’s treatment plan described, discussed, and delivered?

Assume your fellow docs did all the right things (unless you 10,000% know otherwise). Dodge the drama; there’s no amount of money that makes these things any better.

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Editor’s note: This video first appeared in Through the Loupes newsletter, a publication of the Endeavor Business Media Dental Group. Read more articles and subscribe to Through the Loupes.