After a great introduction and the patient is seated in your operatory, there are a few rules to follow to make a great connection and have education run smoothly throughout the appointment.
1. Start with the 1 minute rule. Build rapport in the first one minute of the appointment. Talk about anything positive that isn't related to dental hygiene or health, like if they have summer plans or what they like to do for fun. Try to ask open ended questions to keep the conversation moving and natural. If you're seeing a new patient, ask any question that doesn't talk about religion, politics, or controversial current events. If it's an established patient, look back at notes from last appointment and follow up with what was previously talked about.
2. Next, move onto home care questions. Again, ask questions that don't have a "yes" or " no answer. For example, try to avoid asking "How's your brushing?". Instead, ask "How many time's a day have you been brushing?" or "What do you use to clean in between your teeth and how often to do you use?" We find that while taking radiographs is a perfect time to ask this questions so you have a sense of what your patient may present intraorally. It also will give you insight on how much the patient knows or even cares of what going on in their mouth and overall health.
3. While probing is a perfect time to talk about inflammation and the disease process that may be occurring subgingivally. One way of doing this is explaining what probing is before you start, and what the numbers mean. Also mention that greater than 5mm pockets and bleeding means there's a disease present. Disease is a huge motivating word for patients. That's exactly what it is, so we might as well be honest! Then as you probe, call out the numbers, even if you chart them yourself. This will let the patient know exactly where their level of disease is. The majority of the time if a patient has pocketing, they'll ask what needs to be done next as soon as the charting is complete, or even after the first deep pocket is called out.
Now that the ground work is in place for your OHE, we can get into the actual education part!
Don't forget to come back each day this week! We'll be talking about products, habits, and much more!