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    The top 5 things you never want to hear a patient say

    These five complaints will make any dental professional cringe.


    Shouting man

    “You will be hearing from my lawyer!”

    That “L” word gets all of us pretty nervous pretty quickly. Why does a patient think that they need to throw their weight around because they aren’t getting what they are demanding? (Wish I knew the answer to that one. Is it a power play?) Maybe.

    There was a TMJ patient who was finishing up five years of dental care and was about to have her braces taken off for the second time. She had been very stable for a couple of years and was back in the throes of TMJ nightmare pain. The dentist felt there was nothing more he could do about the situation and wanted to take off the braces. The patient felt desperate and knew if the braces came off, that that was it. She was going to have to suffer with this predicament.

    She threatened to get her lawyer involved as she didn’t know what to do. She had spent $15,000 on her mouth and was miserable. The flustered dentist had his secretary witness the consultation, to protect himself. In the end, he stuck to his treatment plan and was able to calm the patient down and find a resolution. But, that threat about getting a lawyer involved scares everyone. Stick to what you know and don’t overreact. Just do what you do well. Calm the patient and focus on a resolution that works best for the patient.


    Lisa Newburger, LISW-S
    Lisa Newburger, a master's level social worker supervisor, helps audiences find humor in talking about tough topics. Her "in-your-face" ...


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