Careers in Dentistry: Why should you prepare yourself to speak with patients about money?

25 October 2021
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After you’ve completed your dentistry degree and you’re confident in speaking with patients about dental care, how do you speak with them about money?

Canadian dentists, Dr Geroche and Dr Pavi, say that they were not prepared to discuss money with their patients, but it is a necessary skill to learn.

“I think probably one of the most challenging things for me that nobody told me in terms of running a dental practice was that I would have to talk about money to my patients and that’s something that they definitely do not teach you in school.” says Dr Geroche.

The reality is that dental programs are designed to teach you the technical skills you need to be a good dentist. They teach you how to work safely and effectively in someone’s mouth. Since they are focusing on that, they don’t have the time to teach you the business side of running your own clinic.

However, the reality is that if you’re going to have a success clinic, you need to be comfortable with discussing money. In Canada in particular, there is added confusion for patients because a trip to the hospital for other health needs is covered under provincial health insurance while dental care is not covered.

Dr Geroche notes that because of this difference, “it is really hard to get people to want what they need.”

As a dentist, you need to be able to explain to someone why they should pay you hundreds or even thousands of dollars when they have other ways in which they want to or need to spend that money. Sometimes you also need to find compromises to treatment because patients are simple unable to afford what the ideal treatment may be.

“A lot of the stigma is that as a practice owner, as a dentist, or as a healthcare practitioner, you should never talk about money to your patients and that’s just not the reality. They trust what you’re saying, so they want to hear it from your mouth” says Dr Geroche.

Hear more about the importance of talking about money with your dental patients:

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