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 mis-diagnosed 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.
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.