How to Work with Headstrong Dental Patients

How to Work with Headstrong Dental Patients


4 min read
As dental professionals, we know that working with patients won’t always be easy or simple, but it is always well worth it to help them achieve a healthy and beautiful smile. Here’s some tips on working with headstrong patients and how DentiCalc can help.

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Identifying the Disconnect



While some patients tend to “go with the flow” and follow through with whatever treatment is recommended for them with no questions asked, there will always be patients who give a bit of pushback when making plans to follow through with their treatment plan.

Of course, this isn’t to say that the patient is difficult; they merely want to ensure that they are in control of their treatment. In some cases, some individuals may disagree with the treatment that their dentist recommends for them altogether; this can be a tricky situation, but when approached correctly, can absolutely be successfully managed with no harm done.

So, where’s the disconnect?

In most cases, a general lack of information and knowledge is usually the root cause of a miscommunication between a dentist and their patient.


How to Work with Headstrong Dental Patients


Personal Experience



During my years working as the head dental assistant in a bustling general practice, I certainly saw my fair share of headstrong patients that challenged -- or even refused -- their treatment plan.

I found that whenever I found myself in this situation, the best thing to do was to simply slow down and listen to what the patient wanted.

In one instance, we conducted a new patient exam on a middle-aged woman and found that she had an advanced case of periodontitis. We presented her with a comprehensive treatment plan for perio maintenance and recommended that she have the treatment completed with a periodontist due to the progression of her case.

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The patient refused to follow through with her referral, stating that she would follow through with her treatment in our office and no where else; she did not believe she needed anything more than a “regular” cleaning because she felt no pain.

When we tried to reason with her, she became increasingly irate. We soon realized that perhaps if we gave her a chance to explain her grievances and worked through it step by step to explain why she needed the treatment, it might allow us to make some progress with changing her mind.

So, we had the patient hold up a mirror as we probed the pockets between her teeth. We then scoured the internet for images of what “healthy” gums look like when probed. We showed her the difference between healthy bone levels and the low bone levels that were present in her x-rays.

The patient was shocked: she had absolutely no idea that her oral health was in such a state.


How to Work with Headstrong Dental Patients

She thanked us for taking the time to explain the situation and agreed to see the periodontist for treatment.

If we had access to DentiCalc in this situation, we could have shown her detailed and relevant images in just seconds. We could have approached her treatment explanation already equipped with the visual tools we needed to help the patient understand, and we could have avoided upsetting her altogether.
Questions about how DentiCalc can help you find a solution with headstrong patients?

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