Stressed About Employee Salaries?

Coaching dentists to become confident leaders of a profitable practice
ask sharyn

Don’t Throw the Dentist Under the Bus


Dear Sharyn,

A colleague in my town told his team on a Thursday that he was abruptly retiring and had sold his practice to a corporate entity who would take over on Monday. The new dentist unfortunately has not impressed the patients or the team and there has been a mass exodus. Our phones are ringing off the hook with patients who desperately want to transfer here, even those who are in the middle of treatment.

The problem is that these patients are arriving with years of misdiagnosed or poorly treated work. Many of them spent thousands of dollars with the previous dentist. I’m at a loss at how I tell these people that they need more treatment without disparaging the former dentist. I feel so bad for them. 

C.S., Illinois

Dear C.S.,

There is a way to make a neutral statement about the previous dentist and refocus the patient’s attention on the present circumstances.  Here is how you can respond to a patient who asks you why the previous dentist didn’t recommend the treatment you do.

Dentists can have different philosophies about dental care. My focus is to prevent patients from needing extensive care in the first place and to provide comprehensive but conservative treatment when it is needed.  I see ways we can do that with you. Based on your xrays/exam, I am going to recommend…

If the previous hygiene care was also lacking, then the new office can say:

Just like your car can break down after seeing the mechanic, dental issues can emerge anytime.

The decay I’m seeing may not have been as evident when they saw you six months ago.

Spend as little time as possible talking about the previous dentist or dental work, instead communicate this one message:

The good news is that we’re going to take care of this now.

Subscribe to the Bite-Sized Practice Management Newsletter: Tips, Scripts and tools designed for dentists in a hurry.​

Download the Dental Wage Planner

View your current payroll costs at a glance and forecast the impact of potential raises. You will be able to see any compensation inequities, compare payroll costs to your production and calculate the costs of proposed raises against your production goals. 

DOWNLOAD: The Stress-Free Guide to Attract World-Class Dental Employees

Sign up below and we’ll send you the free guide straight to your inbox

Inspired Us to Dream Bigger, and it Works

“As an Office Manager, I’ve seen a great difference in my practice since starting with Sharyn. Three years ago our staff was in turmoil with a lot of infighting and gossip and some jealousy directed towards me.

I had given up because everything I did was judged. Now I have learned to have more one-to-one communication and by being more vulnerable with individuals I found my leadership voice. As a team, we’re all focused on the same goals.

Last year, in August we produced $88,000. This year we’re on track to produce $111,000 this month. I know it’s because we learned how to follow through with patients and communicate our expectations while building our systems.

Sharyn has gotten us out of our comfort zone and inspired us to dream bigger and it works.”

–Sharon St Pierre, Sperbeck Dental Care

The Stress-Free Guide to Attract World-Class Dental Employees

You’ll learn how to