Dr. Harry Long wrote the following article regarding patient-driven treatment. In it, he explains that dentistry is a sector of the health care industry that prides itself on being able to be flexible in order to cater to a patient’s needs. Because of the flexibility, and ever-changing technological advancements, dental professionals have the ability to take a more personal approach when designing their patient’s treatment options. Taking the time to get to know the patient, their concerns and questions all help to give them the best possible options.
Dr. Long explains his points through two case studies. The first, a 26-year-old woman with a collapsed arch form and classically crowded dentition. The second, a 30-year-old man with collapsed maxillary and mandibular arch forms, along with crowded dentition and irritation of the interdental papilla. Both treatment options were patient-driven in order to cater to the patient’s needs.
“Ultimately, each practitioner must choose his or her own best way to get to where the profession seeks to go collectively— which is the best possible outcome for the patient.”
One of the most critical skills a dental professional must learn is to be compassionate to their patient’s dental fears or hesitations when it comes to dealing with necessary dental procedures. They are unaware of what is going on inside their mouth – all they know is that there is pain in there somewhere and they would like you to fix it. It is your job to put their minds at ease in the most basic way possible. One of these ways is to SHOW them what is going to happen through the use of visuals. If they can see what is going to happen and you address all of their questions and concerns, the procedure will go much smoother than if you explain things with technical jargon.
Dr. Albert Neff, Senior Clinical Instructor for Aesthetic Advantage in New York, NY has published the following article on the use of digital photography for case presentations.
“Case presentations that use visual technology can become the integral component of success for the modern-day practice. Our patients must be able to clearly see their existing conditions, understand treatment recommendations, and visualize the anticipated results before they can accept and approve treatment. Historically, dentists have used complicated dental terminology, x-rays, and study models to communicate a proposed treatment plan. Patients were expected to accept recommendations without being able to visualize the anticipated results. Patients often left the dental office confused about treatment recommendations and uncertain about the final outcome.”