Educating a patient that presents with periodontal disease is rewarding, but can also be challenging. This patient usually hasn't been to see a hygienist regularly and can be apprehensive about being in the dental chair. Here are some tips to help:
1. Take your time with educating these patients. Use charts, pictures, and explain the procedure. If your office protocol doesn't allow you to reschedule perio patients when they are assessed, come up with some good talking points like how beneficial this extra education is to the patient, and have an educated discussion with your employer. These patients need the extra education time to know how important treatment is, and will increase case acceptance once they do. Show the patient radiographs and talk about the disease process. Treat this patient as if it was yourself- if you went to the doctor and were diagnosed with a disease that you knew nothing about, wouldn't you want to know the process of treatment, the outcomes, and the post op instructions?
2. Ditch the word "Deep Cleaning". We've had patients ask- "Don't you always do a deep cleaning?" We do! Instead of "deep cleaning", maybe introduce the phrase "Gum infection therapy".
3. In this age of implants and bridges, patient's aren't nervous to loose their teeth as they once were since there as so many reliable ways to replace them. Instead of telling patients that this disease could cause them to loose their teeth, tell them they are loosing important bone in their jaw that is needed to place implants.
4. When explaining pocket depths and bleeding, avoid "I found..." Instead, say "You presented with" or "You have." It takes the responsibly of the disease off you and back on the patient.
Periodontal disease can have great results and high case acceptance with great patient education. How do YOU help explain periodontal disease to patients?
Check back tomorrow for more OHE tips and tricks!