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Tapping into the power of patient education

A dental assistant educating a patient during their dental visit

As a dentist, it can be frustrating if a patient turns down treatment for a procedure they need. You understand how important this treatment is for their oral health and overall wellbeing, why can’t they? Possibly because some patient education is lacking. Low acceptance rates can be caused not only by reticent patients, but by a lack of education.

Why educate patients?

A fully developed patient education strategy goes well beyond brushing, flossing and avoiding sugary foods. Successful patient education means sharing clinical information with your patients with the aim of achieving a better understanding of everything that takes place while they are sitting in your chair.

Explain as you go

Getting into the habit of explaining to patients what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, can take time. You’re trying to concentrate on the task at hand but talking your patients through your examination in real time matters. Telling a patient what you found after the fact diminishes the impact. Explain to a patient in advance what you will be looking for and why. Then, when you do discover an issue, they can fully understand what the problem is and how their oral health will be affected.

Share visuals

Modern dental imagery makes it easier than ever to clearly show patients their oral health concerns. Leveraging this technology while the examination is underway greatly impacts how they feel about their current oral health situation before you move on to case presentation.

The end goal

A properly educated patient will understand which oral health concern they are facing and the consequences of ignoring this concern before you mention treatment options. Your patients should understand the benefits of treatment first, and the particulars of your treatment recommendation second.

As a highly trained professional, you might feel as though your patients should simply trust your guidance, but that’s just not how many people’s minds work.