The Effective Use of Your But

Using the word ‘but’ in your communication is normally warned against. 

You see, a ‘but’ negates or cancels out everything that is said before it.

For example,

“You look great today, but…”

“You delivered a good performance, but…”

“I had a wonderful evening with you, but…”

I can see how the word ‘but’ can affect the message that is being communicated BUT I see a powerful use of ‘but’ when making treatment suggestions to dental patients. And, it is BECAUSE it negates all preceding it that makes it powerful.

“The crown that I have suggested for your tooth is expensive, BUT it gives you the best long-term result.”

“This comprehensive treatment plan takes a substantial time and money commitment from you, BUT it is the only way you can keep your teeth and avoid dentures.”

“Implants are a more expensive treatment option, BUT you then have all of the benefits they offer for years to come.”

Using your ‘but’ in this way, you are both acknowledging the patient’s concern yet still placing the positive emphasis on your treatment recommendations. 


Julie Parker was a dental nurse and receptionist for many years before becoming the first non-dentist to own a practice in Australia in 2003. After 10 very successful years, Julie now shares her wisdom and knowledge to other practice owners to facilitate their path to success. Charles Kovess practiced law successfully for 20 years before becoming a motivational speaker and transformation coach, bringing out the unique and extraordinary capacities of individuals, by accessing and harnessing their passion.