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Friday, January 11, 2013

I am NOT a salesman- Part 1

When I decided to pursue dental hygiene as my profession I envisioned myself helping patients by cleaning their teeth and educating them on their dental health.  I think that I imagined that patients would be grateful for the service I was providing them- similar to  the way I appreciate nurses when I go to the hospital.

The reality of the profession that I have chosen is that a majority of patients don't value the service they are receiving,  their main objective is to get in and get out as quickly and cheaply as possible. To make the job of a dental hygienist even more of a struggle we are also trying to give the dentists that we work for the result that they are looking for- happy satisfied patients who want to schedule their restorative treatment.

Dentistry has evolved and it can be a challenge as a dental hygienist to evolve with it.

We are dealing with people -obstacle 1.

 We are usually identifying problems that they had no idea existed before their visit- obstacle 2.

We are attempting to create enough concern that the patient wants to part with their own money to fix the problem (thanks to laughable insurance coverage) without scaring them away-obstacle 3.

After numerous seminars, workshops, conferences on how to get patients to accept treatment (or be a better salesman)  I finally had the chance to meet with a consultant that I feel gave realistic suggestions and strategies to "ethically diagnose"  and present treatment in a way that makes the patient want ideal treatment.

I am not a person who feels comfortable forcing,tricking or talking down to someone to get them to do what I want. With a lot of coarses I have attended in the past I sit back thinking "I could never say that to a patient, because I would not want someone to say that to me." I also have had the thought that some of these suggestions sound degrading. And it always starts to feel like something is wrong with me for not feeling comfortable enough to ask my patient what I think is a  ridiculous question, or even throwing out somewhat threatening statements.

Example: How important are your teeth to you? Would you like to keep them?

Ok... so you should ask this of all your patients to evaluate their level of commitment and concern for their teeth. If you propose treatment and they object you have leverage to state "well Mrs. Smith I thought that your teeth  were  very important to you, but I see that you have changed your mind so we can do nothing and wait for the tooth to fall out..."  

WHAT?? what hygienist  feels good about this conversation, NOT me!! It makes me feel like a slimy salesman- which I am not! I am advocate for my patient and their health.

Suppose you went to the eye doctor and he began the appointment by asking you if you like your eyes and if you wanted to keep them- it would be ridiculous, that is what the dental patient thinks.

Over my next few blog posts I will share with you some of the ah-ha moments I had during the past 2 days.

I urge you to visit this site you can try the online coarse for free for 30 days and I know it will change the way you talk to your patients.

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