Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2016 03 Goodbye 1

It's time to fire some dental patients

March 21, 2016
All dentists have those not-so-great patients they don't enjoy treating. If you're ready to let them go, do it the right way.
Chris Salierno, DDS, Chief Editor, Dental Economics

You know the ones I'm talking about. They make you lose sleep at night. They only come in for emergencies, always complaining about their bill, and they tear through your office like a hurricane. Perhaps the red flags were there from the beginning. They complained about every other dentist they had ever seen. They tried to dictate treatment and force you into providing substandard care. They were a bit too rude to your team members.

Sure, some patients present challenges for us and our teams, but I'm talking about those who cross the line. Dentistry is stressful enough without those who take advantage of our kindness. If you're in this position, you should fire them. Sometimes it's just time to part ways. I would argue it's in their best interest, as well. Maybe the next dentist will connect with them in some other way and they'll both be happy together.

First, you should make sure you’re not ending the relationship at a point that could be considered abandonment. For a great article on termination versus abandonment and how to go about ending an unsuccessful patient relationship the right way, read "How do I get rid of this dental patient?"

Now it's time to have the uncomfortable conversation. Don't make a scene, like when Tom Cruise left his job in Jerry Maguire. This has to be done with respect. My preferred line is: "You deserve to be happy. I don't think I can make you happy. Let's part ways so you can find a dentist who will meet and exceed your expectations." I think that’s a professional way to handle things.

Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly