As a dentist, your main focus is to be able to take care of the oral health of the patients you serve. The clinical scope of your job is broad, and it is what you spend the majority of your time in the office each day doing. It is, after all, why you went to dental school and what pays the bills.

In private practice, the job of a dentist does not end there. One must also be a businessman/woman in order to successfully run a dental practice. This involves hiring and overseeing staff, implementing systems that will allow you to chart treatment, running an accounting department to bill patients, paying expenses and employees, all while making sure that you are keeping expenses lower than revenues in order to insure a profit margin that allows you to live the life you want.

This leads me to one of the most important hats a dentist wears in running a successful practice. Being a salesman! Selling treatment plans is the key to achieving the financial viability of a successful practice. This can be daunting and it is the part of private practice that many dentists know the least about and dread the most. It does not have to be that way.

The concept of how to be successful in achieving a high rate of treatment acceptance is actually quite simple and is based on what is found to be a common denominator in the successful sales people across all businesses. It is asking the right questions or asking the “Golden Question.”*

Rather than talking and talking and having your patient glaze over, you need to ask: “When you think about proceeding with treatment, what are your main concerns?”*. Having the answer to this empowers you to be able to address what is most important to the patient. If one understands their patients’ concerns clearly and addresses them succinctly as they discuss treatment, their case presentation conversations become amazingly effective.

*, “The Golden Question for Case Presentation” by Dr. Ryan Swain.

Written by Gary Harris, Dental Specialist Recruiter at ETS Dental. You can reach Gary at (540) 491-9115 or Check us out at

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