Well it happened. It happened even in our office. A prospective patient called our office and one of our newer personnel answered the question, “No we don’t do root canals. Here is who we refer to.” Is that what we teach? No. So of course we brought her into correction. We did it very nicely. She understood and everything went okay. But if it happened in our office, maybe you need a reminder too. When a patient calls your office, what is the goal of the phone scheduler? It is to schedule the patient.

We can talk about screening skills in advanced phone training, but right now the goal is to schedule the patient. So how would you handle the patient who calls saying “I need a root canal.” Well, you might handle it this way. “Dr. Sheldon is an expert in dentistry. He is one who does predictable treatment planning and has saved many patients a lot of money when he sees them first. Maybe you do need a root canal, but he has to look at the rest of the mouth and really has to look at the tooth to see if the tooth is restorable. You want to know if it is really worth doing the root canal before the root canal is done, right? If you do need a root canal, then he will refer you to the best root canal specialist. He knows who all the best root canal specialists are in the area and there are good and bad root canal specialists just like there are good and bad everything. So Dr. Sheldon will be able to evaluate you and be able to help you determine whether a root canal is the right thing to do and refer you appropriately. And if a root canal is not the correct treatment, a dental implant may save you some money so he will be looking at it from both perspectives. When would you like to schedule?”

It’s that kind of conversation that will get a patient to schedule with you and of course the patient needs you as a diagnostician before treatment. So it is always diagnosis first, treatment second. That is what our front desk staff needs to understand. It is diagnosis first, treatment second. Just because somebody else made the diagnosis that a root canal is necessary doesn’t necessarily mean that that is the best treatment for the patient. So let’s make sure that we are getting our patients in for diagnosis first and you’ll see a lot more patients as a result.

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