Dr Michael Sernik, September 2013
Q: Many colleagues of mine have attended your Primespeak seminar and raved about it. They have come back saying that I should "diagnose as if dentistry were free". I'm not sure I agree with this and wanted to get your clarification. Dr Adam, NSW
A: I can understand why you might question 'diagnose as if dentistry were free'. On its own, it isn't very helpful to dentists. If a dentist were to just do that, he or she would experience a lot of rejection. The concept only works when the dentist is able to talk about all the (expensive) options in a way that never causes the patient to react negatively. So the course is all about how to do that. Dentists often diagnose a patient's wallet as well as their mouth. In doing so, they are often making assumptions (sometimes incorrect) about the patient's interest in wanting optimum treatment. When it comes time to presenting options to the patient, they will present only the options they see as the patient being able to afford. This is wrong on many fronts, but mainly the patient isn't being given the option of selecting the treatment that is best for them (as the dentist would diagnose if it were in their own mouth).
In summary, we do want to talk about all the treatment options, no matter what the price is; but we need to be able to do that in a way that firstly, never causes a negative reaction and secondly has a much higher probability of having the patient choose the treatment that the dentist would have chosen for himself.