AADOM Members |3 min read

Why You Should Choose Your Dental Management Team Over Aggressive Patients

Tammy Gemmer, DAADOM with text, "Real-world insights from AADOM authors"

Every practice has difficult patients.

We’ve all had them; the ones who you cannot please.

Like the patient who shows up late and does not understand why their appointment must be rescheduled.

The patient that has a past due balance that does not want to pay and is offended by being approached regarding their account regardless of how tactfully you request a payment.

Additionally, we have all encountered a patient who is completely irrational and out of control that verbally abuses one or more members of the dental management team.

The front desk team is the first and last impression of your dental practice.
They interact with every single patient every single day.
They are the gatekeepers and the hospitality crew.

They are the team members that are asked to deliver bad news to the patient, such as the case did not make it back from the lab in time, or their provider is out sick and their appointment needs to be rescheduled.

These employees function as babysitters to the unattended children in the waiting area and they defend the policies put in place by the practice owners.

Not to mention, they do all of this while answering phones, checking patients in and out, scheduling appointments, processing insurance claims, and collecting balances due.

Needless to say, they have a very important role in your practice as they work very hard.

Every person who has undergone dental receptionist training knows that bearing the bad news can incite ill-tempered patients and that it’s all part of the job, as you can’t make everyone happy all of the time.

Nevertheless, a truly abusive patient should not be tolerated.

It has always been a mystery to me as to why the patients feel they can speak disrespectfully to our valuable team members, but more importantly, why it is sometimes tolerated.

Why we should protect our team over aggressive patients

Dentistry is a service industry and just like any other, we have the right to refuse service.

If we support our team members, we protect them from being mistreated by undesirable patients.

Our loyalty must lie with our team!

Our front desk team members are often in the line of fire when it comes to disgruntled patients.

Occasionally the patient’s anger is expressed toward that associate inappropriately. Unfortunately, this human behavior cannot always be avoided or mitigated.

In these unfortunate circumstances, I feel we should always prioritize our team over a tyrant patient, as our employees show up faithfully every day to serve our patients and uphold the policies set in place.

We owe it to our team to dismiss aggressive patients.

We would not tolerate this behavior in our personal lives and would protect our family members from outsiders that are irrational and abusive.

The same should be true for our work family.

Meet the Author

Tammy Gemmer in a mauve shirt and black blazerTammy Gemmer, DAADOM… Opens in a new window to AADOM’s website… has spent more than 10 years as a private practice office manager.

She currently manages the practice of Jensen and Brown, DDS… Opens in a new window to Dr. Jensen & Dr. Brown’s website… in Bellevue, WA.

Tammy is a member of the Northwest WA Chapter of AADOM… Opens in a new window to AADOM’s website… and in September of 2021, she was inducted into AADOM’s first class of Diplomates… Opens in a new window to AADOM’s website… .

Before transitioning into the dental field, she worked for several years as a medical transcriptionist. She is passionate about learning
and advancing her career.


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