A hard case in dental office.

Three Ways to Combat the “Hard Case”

10/12/21 8:12 PM
Gary Kadi
Case Acceptance

“She came in off the street with a chip on her shoulder and a mistrust of the white coat…”


As a fan of “hard case” detectives in such classics as Blade Runner and The Big Sleep, I find these hard-boiled characters’ staccato dialogue and film noir affectations fun to watch!  This stereotypical, fedora-wearing gumshoe anti-hero is usually notoriously hard to please and not just a little cynical. But in real life, when a character like this shows up in your dental chair, it’s not so much fun, is it?

I’ll bet you see them a lot: These patients literally may be trauma survivors. They’ve had terrible experiences before in non-progressive dental offices and deserve sensitivity and compassion. They also deserve the best, whole-person health care possible. But, like the hard cases of cinema, they’re often tough to convince of anything and may represent the lowest case acceptance numbers on the books. It doesn’t have to be that way. Your hardest cases can transform into the most optimistic and healthiest patients you serve.


“Work backward” from the patient

Sometimes my colleagues who offer consulting services don’t work backward from the patient and his or her needs to be educated and served as a whole person. A lot of firms focus primarily on office policies or the details of cash flow. For example, The Scheduling Institute might come into your practice to revamp office workflows and scheduling. The folks at Blatchford Solutions might help you make sure your collections and office leases are up-to-date while coaching you to sell whitening treatments (at least according to these company’s latest blog posts).

I’m sure this is an oversimplification on my part, and I’m not trying to criticize their processes or outcomes: I’m friends with these professionals and we see each other at conferences all the time. But in my opinion, there’s definitely a time-and-place for strictly office-based direction. And it’s definitely not when faced with a hard case.

At NextLevel we spend time on tuning up processes and meeting profit goals, too. But I have seen that without a laser focus on the patient, you’ll always be struggling with the next process change rather than how to meet the patient’s number one requirement: Compassionate, whole-person healthcare.


Be patient “obsessed”

Whatever you may think of Jeff Bezos, he amassed millions and launched himself into space, thanks to his company’s “customer obsession” and penchant for “working backward” from customer needs first and always. We operate like that, as well, with patient obsession being top-of-mind—and I assure you, profits do follow. You can even take our Revenue Potential Calculator to find out where they are without you adding even a single patient.

Yet you know as well as I do, the hard case that shows up in your chair will sniff out any mercenary motives or behavior. And that’s the last you’ll see of her, quite rightly. We show you how to help and serve your patients first as well as make a great living and sustain your quality of life for the long term.


Think about OSH – not just a walking mouth

Our oral-systemic health process mandates that the patient’s whole-body health comes first. That’s really what they want when they visit a medical professional, isn’t it? They need a 360-degree view of how you, the dental practitioner, fit into their healthy lifestyle and their quest to avoid diseases like cardiovascular events, dementia, and more. Most new patients have no idea dentists can help them avoid systemic diseases via great oral care.


From cosmetic to complete

When they open their mouths in the chair, they might start out wanting whiter teeth or to address a tooth that’s been bothering them. These are important concerns. But, once educated, they’ll return to get a sleep study booked, periodontic work done, a scan that shows them their maxillofacial systems are working well—all aspects of complete, progressive dental care that enhance their quality of life.

The hardest of hard cases, when educated and under your compassionate care, can actually become your biggest champions. The dental practice owners we work with to institute our oral-systemic health program, Complete Health Dentistry, find that these tough-as-nails patients become a primary source of glowing referrals: Their hardest cases become their biggest fans.

Don’t miss out on becoming a patient-obsessed dental practice owner who realizes profit goals, too. Call today to launch your oral-systemic health program. 212-388-1712