Do Patients Always Mean What They Say?

girl sitting at table and smiling as if trying to look innocent

Do patients always mean what they say and say what they mean? Of course not!

So for your convenience, we are proud to present…..

The Madow Center Dental Translator

When a patient says…..

“My last full set of x-rays was nine months ago…”

What they really mean is…..

“Pretty soon you’ll be receiving a ten year old blurry over-duplicated unreadable set of cone-cut bitewings with coffee stains.”

When a patient says….

“I’m allergic to everything except Vicodin and Oxycontin…..”

What they really mean is….

“Just hand over your prescription pad and get it over with.”

When a patient says….

“My insurance covers one hundred percent of everything…”

What they really mean is….

“I’ve got the crappiest PPO on the face of the planet and you’re not even on the list.”

When a patient says….

“His father is responsible for the bill….”

What they really mean is….

“That creep screwed me over four years ago and he’s about to do the same to you!”

When a patient says….

“I just have one quick question for you…”

What they really mean is….

“You’re about to be running twenty minutes late.”

When a patient says….

“Let me think about it….”

What they really mean is….

“You will never see me again.”

When a patient says….

“I need to come in today – it’s an emergency…”

What they really mean is….

“I’ve had some non-issue for the last three years but I know that you are super-heavily booked today so I decided to call.”

When a patient says….

“I don’t want any ‘Novocaine’….”

What they really mean is….

“I’m about to squirm, scream, and bite your fingers.”

When a patient says….

“My kids will be fine in your waiting room…”

What they really mean is….

“Hurricane Sandy part two is coming….better call FEMA.”


When a potential patient on the phone says….

“How much do you charge for a cleaning?”

Or…. “Do you take my insurance?”

Or…. “Do you do braces, see kids, or anything else….?”

What they really mean is….


Believe it or not, ninety percent of the time these calls are handled incorrectly and the potential patient vanishes, never to be heard from again. How are these calls being handled in YOUR practice?

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

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Meet the Madow Brothers

Dr. Dave & Dr. Rich Madow

Dr. David Madow

Influencer, Speaker, Author & Coach at The David Madow Lifestyle Show + Co-founder of The Madow Center for Dental Practice Success.


Dr. Richard Madow

International Keynote Speaker, Author, Award Winning Musician & Composer, Coach and Co-founder of The Madow Center for Dental Practice Success.


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