What it Really Means to PUT PATIENTS FIRST

You know I have this conversation with our New Practice Transformation Clients every single week. I share with their teams that there are 3 things every single practice on the earth says. Dentists, team members, owners; they all say the same three things.

One of them is all about Money and their patients not having any. Everyone wants to pretend they have the worst patients living in the worst economies, and blah blah blah.
Three of my fastest growing clients in North America are in 3 of the SMALLEST markets, with the least amount of industry, employment, and ‘rich patients’ and they are crushing it. We are talking about selling respectable, complete, full mouth, smile makeover, cosmetic dentistry. They are in the top 10 in growth and bottom 10 in market size and patients with money.

How? Because it has nothing to do with it… you don’t have to believe me, the people you are hurting most are yourself, your team, your patients’ health, and your practice prosperity. Just all the ones that matter.

Competition, money, quality patients, B.S.! As if you are in some way sooooo unique and special and different that the HUMANS you sell dentistry to and care for are a different breed than the rest of the HUMANS in North America. It’s bad business systems, small minded thinking, and lack of follow-through, execution, and taking responsibility that put you at a disadvantage.

Today I want to focus on what it really means to put Patients first. While every practice says it few do it, very few.

Most think putting patients first means:

– The convenience of their schedule

– Their cheapness of their fees

– The bashful pathetic nature of under diagnosing

– Trying to think for the patient by pre-judging because they believe the patient can’t afford it

– Cramming people to the schedule, ruining the life of the team and stressing yourself out all while damaging your patient experience and quality (whether you admit it or not)

– Being extra nice and letting patients pay as they go or running a bookkeeping service instead of a dental business practice


None of these things are putting the patient first.

There is ONLY one thing, one way, one philosophy and approach to putting Patients first. That one and only principle of your Practice that allows you to truly say you are living out what you are preaching is…


Here’s what I love about writing to you every week. You get this. You are, by nature of being right here, one of the most progressive Dentists that’s committed to patients’ health even if its at the sacrifice of your own profit and that’s what I love.

I always say “The right decisions will always pay for themselves.”

I always say “If you put the patient first, the money will follow.”

And that is 100% true.

But. Not if you mistake putting the patient first for ‘making a bunch of stupid business decisions that actually diminish your ability to create an amazing experience, a wow Patient Care philosophy, and practice dentistry to your greatest skill and ability by making the Patients see the big picture, understand their whole mouth, and give them back their smile.’

I’m here to tell you if you really embrace and adopt this; if you really maximize your opportunity and responsibility to take your patients through the full continuum of dentistry; if you really invest in them the way you desire for them to invest in their journey through optimal oral health … then it’s going to transform your practice.

I mean literally it will change your life the way you are attempting to change theirs.

When I ask any Dentist what they love the most, almost everyone of them says the gratification, fulfillment, satisfaction of when the patients smile again for the first time and sees themselves – that feeling – is what they love the most.

Well, I’m not sure about you, but if that’s the case or if you believe in this even just a little bit, then why don’t we make some more of THAT magic happen.

That’s what putting the patient first is really about. Not letting them play doctor and decide on their own treatment plan. I mean c’mon, if you were any other type of Doctor and you did that, you’d be getting sued and your license to practice would be gone. Seriously, there is only one thing you can do in order to put a patient first in your Practice.

That’s to get them to believe and buy into the care that they REALLY NEED…the smile that they REALLY DESERVE…the treatment that you know is REALLY BEST for them.

Customer service will only get you so far, complete dentistry has to be the foundation of your practice first. Full diagnosis that gives your patients a chance to go all-in with you and your team.

Magic happens when these two things collaborate together to make an amazing dynamic in your Patient Experience, Practice Culture and Clinical Philosophy.

This is why I love what I do so much and why the Dentists I work with have so much fun; because they do the dentistry they love and they create more of those magical moments for more patients every day then most do in months or even in a year…because they put the patient first.

And then…

The money follows

And then…

The referrals come in droves

And then…

The Doctor is happy because they are fulfilled, working to their potential, earning what they deserve, and living the practice of their dreams

And then…

Everything else is easy and falls into place.

So, you want to know the secret to getting patients really engaged in the Dentistry they need, deserve, and you know you should diagnosising AND treatment planning.

It’s a big switch…it’s all about letting the Patient do the work and doesn’t that just make sense. If we are going to put them first, we gotta get them more involved in the process.

And that comes from asking more questions. Yes, it’s really that simple.

Questions are the key to EVERYTHING.

There are no answers without first having questions.

There are not solutions without first having problems.

There are not smiles without first having reasons to smile.

And most of all…

There is NO IDEAL dentistry without first having Patients who DESIRE, appreciate, believe in their need for IDEAL dentistry…not because you want to do it does it make it possible, only because they want the outcome it will provide.

It’s real easy to get the cart before the horse, the dentistry before the patient, the diagnosis before the patient gives a shit. Slow down to speed up, as I like to say.

There must be more nurturing with your patients, which requires a slower pace individually, (not necessarily with your practice flow, it doesn’t have to be you, it just has to be done). In order to speed up case acceptance, to bundle treatment, to get patients to go all in, to accelerate cashflow and profitability you must be more methodical, deliberate, strategic with the way you engage and educate your patients.

Trust is not built in number of visits, it’s built in genuine authenticity and depth of understanding of your care and concern over the patients you treat. All things that don’t require ‘more time’ rather more orchestrated action.

This begins by Patients being engaged in THEIR OWN oral health…I will explain and elaborate on this next week with a specific guideline and path to follow. It will start with your Morning Huddle on Monday, so watch for it. It’s going to a powerful piece for everyone in your Practice to use and benefit from to create more life-changing dentistry and patients who want it.

That’s all for now.