Stop Saying No!

June 1, 2012
Much has been written about getting your patients to say yes to dental treatment.

Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD

Much has been written about getting your patients to say yes to dental treatment. Certainly, case acceptance in dentistry is a very hot topic and one that interests dentists greatly. There are many techniques to get your patients to say yes to treatment. What I would like to do in this article is a prelude to getting your patients to say yes by getting you and your team to say yes to your patients.

The most common mistake that front office teams do is immediately place obstacles in front of patients. Before they even ask for a caller’s name, many front office team members ask a number of obstacle questions — Do you have insurance? Is it a PPO or an HMO? Then they answer patients with no too many times — Are you open on Saturdays? Do you treat children? Do you take my insurance? Can you get me in today? Does your office do no-prep veneers, Botox, or braces?

By the way, this negativity often continues, even when a patient makes an appointment and comes into the office. Then how often does the doctor or dental team say no to the patient? Can I get my teeth cleaned at the first visit? No. I really just want this fixed, can we start with this one? No. Will I need a shot? Yes. This is the only yes they have heard from you.

First of all, you need to expand your practice so you can start saying yes to patients. The three key areas that are very popular with patients right now are:

1. Short-term orthodontics, and I do mean short-term — Six Month Smiles offers patients straight teeth with invisible braces much more quickly than aligners, and is specifically designed for general dentists to provide a highly desirable service that patients want. If you can place composite resin restorations, you can easily learn how to use the Six Month Smiles system and give your patients what they want — fast cosmetic orthodontic treatment. Join the thousands of dentists already trained in this area.

2. No injection laser dentistry — I’ve been involved with laser dentistry for nearly 10 years and I would not want to practice without the Biolase iPlus hard and soft tissue laser. I treat many dentists in my practice, and they and all of my other patients love not having to get a shot when they visit me. Laser dentistry makes all of my dentistry faster, easier, and better. When patients now ask you if they need a shot, you will be able to answer “no,” which is the only “no” they’ll want to hear from you.

3. Botox and dermal fillers — Facial injectables for dental esthetics and dental therapeutics is the hottest topic in dentistry. To patients, these are the most common nonsurgical, minimally invasive treatments in the world. Nothing in dentistry comes close to the popularity of Botox and dermal fillers. Now there are many opportunities for better patient treatment with these procedures. The American Academy of Facial Esthetics offers over 50 live patient hands-on training courses a year, so get trained today!

As a little exercise, I want you to count how many times you and your team say no to your patients during the day, when logically and honestly you could be saying yes instead. When your patients keep hearing no from you and your dental team, how in the world can you expect them to say yes when you present them with a treatment plan?

Of course there are times when patients have unreasonable expectations or expect you to do things that you cannot morally, legally, or ethically do. But there are ways to say no differently so that patients stop hearing the word no from your mouth. Patients are really looking for a partner to help them complete their dental treatment.

If you had a partner in a business or relationship that always said no to you, you probably wouldn’t hang around too long. If you want to get a yes from your patients, then start saying yes to them.

Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD is a practicing general dentist and internationally known lecturer, author, and dental consultant. An evaluator emeritus for CLINICIANS REPORT, Dr. Malcmacher is the president of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics at Contact him at (800) 952-0521 or email [email protected]. His website is, where you can sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter.

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