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It’s happened to all of us who have been in dentistry for any length of time. Someone comes in and uses “the line” when you least expect it.  Maybe it happens early in the conversation to get an appointment time, you aren’t currently offering. Other times, it’s right there, after all the patient nods and understandings. It’s in that last moment at the at the time they check out.

The patient has a signed treatment plan, you know their benefits and yet the amnesia they develop from the paint on the walls in the hygiene or treatment rooms to the front desk is predictable with this kind of patient. It’s like they’ve known all along but waited until the doctor is not there to catch this or support you! They just slide it in like a runner on third base coming home determined to slide smooth across that plate. “Oh, I know Chuck…” That’s sometimes all it takes.

It’s often really disappointing and this doesn’t ever count for the disrespect for the team you’re paying to collect for services or schedule your time so that you control the schedule and it doesn’t control you.  We decided it was time to have a plan and a way to identify these patients.  In our morning huddle you might see the words “I KNOW CHUCK!” across the N.P. interview form.  Better yet, if our doctor has a clue this is coming, he’ll write the same thing on a treatment plan.

If you feel this happens more than you’d like, we have developed a few soft skills to give everyone on our team the ability to steer a patient to pay for treatment or schedule when we have availability, so no one gets hurt feelings.  We’re not here to make patients wrong but we are here to help retrain them in a way that is respectful to all involved. Often redirecting can do the trick too. “Oh great, well Mr. KNOW IT ALL, I don’t see a note from him on my desk about running in to you this weekend but if you’d like me to call you back after I ask him about this appointment time, I am happy to do that. UNLESS, you are in pain and then it might be best to take this 2:00 pm so we can assure you an appointment today, it’s the only one we have left for him today and meanwhile, if I find out differently when he is available to chat I can give you a call back.”

As far as the patient who wants to throw the “I know Chuck…” card at the checkout. We’ll cover that one in the next post so stay tuned!

See you on the road,


PS If you’d like information on our two day soft skills deep dive course, write us at

PSS Don’t miss the debut of SpouseTales podcast, October 31st,the truth is nothing to fear. The first podcast dedicated to the dental spouse and their spouse or anyone interested in what “real dental spouses, really in the practice” know and are willing to share. Because you can’t make this stuff up and our book isn’t finished yet! Visit: