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29 May, 2022

Stereotypes About Dentists That Aren’t Always True

As a dentist, you probably already know and understand that there exist stereotypes about dentists that could bring about hesitancy for people to visit your dentist office. As much as people may acknowledge that oral health is as important as other types of health, many are ambivalent about undergoing any type of dental procedure, and that could include something as basic as a cleaning or having a cavity filled. 

These myths about your profession can create a roadblock to attracting  new patients simply because of fear of the discomfort the patient may experience.  For other people, there is the belief that having dental services done is prohibitively expensive.

 These long-held stereotypes can unfairly give dentists like you a tarnished reputation.  What’s more, the false impressions that too many people hold toward dentists are preventing dental practices like yours from growing by limiting your new patient roles. Dispelling  these myths are vital to help more people feel comfortable about coming to your dentist office. 

In this blog article, we will equip you with ways that you can effectively debunk these stereotypes so you can enjoy a stronger bottom line by consistently bringing in new patients.

5 Main Stereotypes About Dentists 

1)     Dentists Don’t Care About Inflicting Pain

One of the major misconceptions about dentists is that they don’t care about the pain their patients are feeling.  Some people may even think dentists enjoy inflicting pain. But you can convey to patients and potential new patients that dentists enter the profession dedicated to improving their patients’ oral health and general well-being. 

Make it known that you, as their dentist, do all you can to minimize dental pain and make strides to enhance their comfort. Dentists care about the oral health of their patients and they want to do everything they can to ensure their patients’ teeth stay in good condition so they can avoid potentially painful dental procedures and surgeries in the future. 

Let your patients know that you stay current on the latest dental technology and techniques, in part, so they can provide oral health treatments that serve the patient’s needs with minimal discomfort.  As a dentist, you are committed to making patients feel comfortable and relaxed and you are prepared to answer their questions about any procedure. The goalis to reassure patients that they are serving their patient’s best interests when it comes to their oral health.  It is easy to forget that patients don’t know what you do to alleviate their pain. Having those conversations are important to changing hearts and minds. 

2)     A Dental Checkup is too Expensive

Tell your patients that a dental checkup is significantly less expensive than filling a cavity or removing a damaged tooth.Having check ups once or twice a year, at the dentist’s recommendation, helps ensure patients have good oral health and that their dentist can save them money by avoiding expensive dental procedures later on. 

What’s more, during a checkup, you, as their dentist, can talk with a patient about practical ways they can improve the condition of a patient’s oral healthin order to prevent the need for costly dental surgeries. Patients need to know that paying some money now for preventative care will go a long way toward not having to pay for expensive procedures in the future. 

Tell them if you offer alternative credit options or discounts when they join your dental membership plan. reframing how the options you already have in your practice can reduce their overall costs is a win-win. They win on cost and you win with a new loyal (and profitable) patient.  

3)     Your Dentist Will Judge You Based on the Condition of your Teeth

It is good to remember that patients feel this way. You likely became a dentist to help people have healthy smiles. There is nothing better than helping a patient who is embarrassed by their teeth look in a mirror and smile. When you see their teeth, you only see that future smile and can’t wait to reveal itself to them. 

You can assure your patients that you won’t be surprised at your patient’s dental health condition. You have seen it all before.  Additionally, dentists are focused on helping their patients improve their oral hygiene habits and don’t have the time or the desire to judge any patient. 

Dentists are motivated to care for their patient’s teeth with the best quality care possible. 

4)     All Dentists Care About is Making Money

Perhaps you have heard this myth that too many people believe about your profession. You can reassure your patients that if they keep up with proper oral health habits, that they likely won’t have to have more expensive dental procedures. Few other professions help people reduce their need for services. 

You can let your patient know that, for example, they may have a tooth that has been so damaged and poses a threat to the rest of their teeth that the best remedy is tooth extraction. The dentist would then have a dental implant inserted. So, while your patient may think that this is an expensive procedure, tell your patient that it would be far more expensive to suffer spread of the affected area or even bone loss.  

It is important to convey the message that a dentist prefers to save their patients money by taking actions to prevent more serious – and more expensive – oral surgeries in the future. It all comes down to preventative care that is less costly than a patient experiencing major oral health problems down the line.

Sometimes it may be appropriate to let patients know that running a dental practice is expensive. You have a lot of equipment, supplies, team members who need to pay their bills, and rent. Dental offices run on a smaller margin than many businesses. You are there to help them be healthy but, you can’t do that if you can’t keep the lights on. 

5)     A Teeth Cleaning is Painful

There are two concepts to keep in mind. First, some patients may have had a negative experience in the past. Sometimes those experiences can be conflated with teeth cleaning. It is important to be empathetic. 

Secondly some patients do not brush and floss as directed leaving them more sensitive during cleanings. 

Inform the patient of what you can do to reduce their pain. It is easy to forget that patients are only in your office twice a year. They may need to be educated repeatedly on what you are doing to reduce their pain and what they can do now and in the future. It is an empowering message that builds a stronger relationship with patients.  

Always Keep Lines of Communication Open with Your Patients 

Running a dental practice is fast paced and stressful. Remember  to keep the lines of communication open and encourage your patients to ask you questions. This will greatly help in allaying the patient’s fears and effectively address their concerns. 

By fostering transparent communication with your patients, as well as potential new patients, you will be able to dispel these stereotypes and put your patients at ease while they are in your dental office. 

Let your patients know the power to reduce pain and costs are in their hands. When they practice good oral hygiene habits, in part, they can prevent potentially more expensive and uncomfortable treatments. Make sure you tell your patients that you are there to support them with their dental needs. They also need to be reminded that you, as their dentist, will do everything you can to make the patient’s visit as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Take the extra couple of minutes even with long time patients. It will keep them coming back and telling their friends to come too.  

Choose Drilldown Solution for Your Dental CPA Needs! 

At Drilldown Solution, we are your one-stop shop for all financial management and business consulting for your dental practice. When you partner with Drilldown Solution, you gain access to the exceptional accountants and CPAs whose responsibility it is to help you manage your practice effectively and efficiently. 

Drilldown Solution offers a full suite of financial services that includes bookkeeping, dental accounting, and tax preparation. We have the expert team in place to help any dental practice thrive, even under the current COVID-19 pandemic circumstances. We accomplish this with a three-part system of patient-experience excellence, financial focused operations, and accountability. 

Our goal at Drilldown Solution is to put your dental practice in the best financial position possible, utilizing proactive processes and personal care!

Note: The material and contents provided in this article are informative in nature only. It is not intended to be advice and you should not act specifically on the basis of this information alone. If expert assistance is required, professional advice should be obtained.

Ed Gabriel, CPA is President of DrillDown Solution and a graduate of Brigham Young University. His clients benefit from over 40 years of experience in maximizing profits, minimizing taxes and putting them in the best financial position possible.