The Only Way

Most of us react poorly to being told, “this is the only way you can do it.”

In response, we tend to think, “Oh, yeah?” Or, even worse, “based on what I know, I don’t think you’re right!”

Our instinct is to respond to “The Only Way” with confrontation. We react emotionally instead of responding intelligently. I see this happening all the time in dental offices.

As an example, when a tooth is missing, the dentist says, “You should place an implant in that space.”

In effect, the dentist is saying, “This is the only way.”

Unless patients mention that they desire implants, give them a choice by saying, “given your situation, you have several choices:

  • “You can do nothing. The problems with that choice are…”
  • “You can have a removable partial denture made. The problems with that choice are…”
  • “You can have a fixed bridge placed. The problems with that choice are…”
  • “You can have an implant placed. The advantages of that choice are…”

Giving your patients choice between two or more forms of dental care is a generous act. It’s a form of truth telling that benefits them and you. All choices have consequences. Helping patients understand them in advance leads to better decisions on their part and higher case acceptance rates of the best options on your part.