Why Dentists Should Never Take No For an Answer
What do you do when a patient says no to the treatment you have presented? If you’re like many dentists you consider your job done, accept their decision and leave it at that. But in fact, you should communicate a patient’s dental needs—all their dental needs—every time you see them. To do anything less is to deny them the full benefit of your expertise and care.
It just doesn’t make sense NOT to revisit unaccepted treatment in a patient’s history because things change. Conditions in their mouth can change over time, and so can other factors in their life. Dentistry continues to change with new techniques and materials. You change as a clinician as you continue to learn and grow, which means you see more all the time.
But won’t patients get bored or annoyed when you keep mentioning the same things every time you see them? Not if you handle it the right way and simply tell them that is what you must do: “I understand you’re not ready to proceed with this right now, and I’ll make a note of that. But please remember that conditions can change over time and there are often new advancements in treatment options, so I will always communicate everything I see in your mouth on each visit. That’s my professional obligation, and I wouldn’t want to be anything less than thorough with you.”
And this is not just a line, it is your duty to be honest about what you see and provide a complete evaluation of a patient’s oral health condition during every visit. Don’t let something like a dated no—which often means not right now—stop you from performing that duty to the fullest.