Mistakes Dentists Make In Dental Business

In this blog I’m going to expose the biggest mistakes I see dentists making when it comes to running their dental offices so you can go from wondering what the secret ingredients to a successful dental practice are, and focusing your energy and money on the wrong things to avoiding the pitfalls that so many other dentists make.

I want you to know exactly what you need to put into place to make your dental office work for you.

As a dentist you have the skills to diagnose and treat dental disease but do you have the skills to run a business, manage your team and be the leader.

I am going to give you brutally honest advice and show you what not to do if you want a long and satisfying dental career that allows you to live the life you want.

The Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make – Don’t End Up Poor and Burnt Out

  1. Doing Tons of CE and Dental Courses

Taking courses to up-skill your dentistry and get more continuing education in the belief that it will help your patients say yes to treatment and bring more new patients through your door.

Yes you can and should take courses to improve your clinical skills, it is imperative that you keep up to date and learn new services that you can add to your practice. But it will never make one bit of difference to your case acceptance and patient numbers if you are not able to communicate effectively, if you lack connection to you patients and you lack confidence when it comes to presenting and recommending treatment.

Patients think all dentists are the same – you’re a dentist, you have a degree, you can fix my teeth – and they are not really that impressed by a list of all your qualifications and courses you’ve attended. Your patients want to like and trust you and they want you to care for them.

Tip: Invest in courses that improve your communication skills, case presenting and ability to understand and relate to people.

  1. Buying More Equipment and Fancy Tech

Having all the latest equipment and fancy gadgets with all the bells and whistles in the belief it wows your patients and brings you more business.

Sure it’s nice and feels good to have quality equipment and a nice high tech operatory. But buying things because they are bright, shiny objects and the latest version to impress your patients is not great business sense.

Neither is buying things because you think you need them only for them to sit on a shelf gathering dust and increasing the amount of loans you need to repay.

Yes your dental office needs to well presented, clean and tidy and look modern and up to date but you can do this without having to spend or waste a huge sum of money.

Tip: When buying tech and equipment ask yourself do I really need this, is it going to make my life better, more efficient and my dentistry easier to do, will it make it a better experience and outcome for my patient, will it help to save me time and money. If it doesn’t tick those boxes then you should reconsider your purchase or opt for a lower end more basic model where you are not paying for optional extras you can live without.

  1. Teaching Dentistry 101

Teaching your patients how you do what you do instead of telling them what they need and why and what will happen if they don’t get it done as your style of case presenting.

Spending 20-30 minutes explaining all the details of a procedure to your patient because you believe this is what it takes for them to agree to treatment is a huge mistake.

Your patient doesn’t need a lesson in dentistry they need you to help them understand what is happening and how you will fix it, what to expect and how much it will cost.

It’s like you don’t need to know how a car works when you buy one, you just want to put in the key, start the engine and drive. Could you imagine the car salesman teaching you how an internal combustion engine works and spending an hour of their time drawing pictures of each stage of the process?!

Yet this is exactly what dentists do and as you do it you are so caught up in it you can’t see that the patient has checked out, eyes glazed over, wondering how much longer they have to sit there while you bore the pants off them. All you are doing is confusing them and putting them off and you wonder why they don’t book for the recommended treatment.

Tip: Tell them honestly and concisely what you can see, explain what you need to do to fix it in simple terms, tell them why it needs to be done and when, what will happen if they delay or don’t do and get them scheduled in your book.

  1. Fearing Rejection

Not presenting everything that needs to be done because you don’t want the patient to say no.

Taking it personally when a patient says no to treatment is very detrimental to your psyche and this is why so many dentists fear telling their patients exactly what is happening in their mouth. But this is selfish and irresponsible because you are sitting there making it all about you, when you are the expert and that person in your chair is trusting you to tell them what is happening in their mouth and how to fix it.

It is your job to tell your patients the truth it is not about winning a popularity contest. When you only tell them only a part of what is happening in the hope they’ll say yes to some now and you can spring the rest on them later you are doing them a disservice.

It is also a sure fire way to lose their trust when you see them and do two fillings and a crown then tell them a couple of months later that they also need four more crowns. Now your patient wonders what went wrong with their teeth so quickly and why you missed it when they were in before.

They are responsible for the condition of their teeth and gums, you are responsible for being honest and giving it to them straight. It is up to your patient then to work out a way to pay for it and get it scheduled.

If you were a cardiologist and you picked up that a coronary artery is 60% blocked do you have a duty of care to tell your patient and help them fix it or are you going to wait until they have a heart attack? Exactly! So why would you do the same when it comes to peoples’ teeth and gums because you can’t deal with a patient saying no.

Tip: Present ideal treatment to every patient and enable the patient to decide what is best for them. Remember you are helping them to improve their dental health and their smile not selling them dentistry.

Develop Your Skills and Mindset

Yes you can and should take courses to improve your clinical skills, attract more new patients and have better communication skills but if you feel unhappy, lack confidence and self-worth, have no focus, are unhealthy and its all work and no play then are you really going to be able to implement and reach your full potential?

If you want to avoid these mistakes and shift the ‘dentist’ mindset then you need to do things different, and you need to become different.

Success comes from knowing who you are, what you want and having the mindset, focus and courage to take action, follow through and make changes in your life and your dental office.

In part 2 I share more insights into the mistakes dentists make in dental practice and tips for you to avoid them.