A patient in her late 20’s sees me for an examination. After examining her I talk with her and her husband about what will need to be done, that I’ll need more diagnostic information before I can be sure of the steps that we will take to get her restored. I know that it will take at least a year. And then I say something else. “If you like, you can get a second opinion. I won’t be offended. However, there are only certain dentists that can make the treatment work. I’ll be happy to refer you to those dentists who can help you.”
A patient in his mid-70’s sees me for the fifth opinion about his teeth which are in bad shape. His diabetes is getting worse, and he’s smoking. We talked about how smoking interferes with blood vessel formation, and it’s the blood supply that determines the success of dental implants. And diabetes prevents the white blood cells from removing bacteria from the scene of the surgery. We finally talk about dentistry. After I leave, the patient tells my assistant that I’m the first doctor that convinced him to get his health under control. And he will. And then we’ll do the dentistry.
What is the commonality? In an era where we feel we are being sold everything, I didn’t try to sell these patients anything. And both of these patients will get treatment, in both cases, quite costly treatment.
Establish a relationship with your doctor. Make sure that the relationship is a give and take relationship. No threats. No “if you don’t do what I say, I can’t be responsible.” Just a good conversation, a good relationship. It’s worth your time. It’s worth your life. And yes, it might be worth paying some money out of your pocket to do so.