When talking about periodontal disease and increasing case acceptance with that part of your practice, this really should be a very simple thing for us to do. Sadly, periodontal disease still goes grossly undertreated in this country and in many of our practices.
So again, what I want you to think about through the lens of optimum oral health, what are some of the terms that we can be talking with patients about to get them to understand?
- I would use words like the silent taker of teeth
- Talk about their breath
- Talk about the drain with the infection affecting their systemic health.
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Patients need to understand that a healthy periodontal situation is when the tissue is pink, it's tight against the tooth, and that there's only a two millimeter pocket. They need to understand when the pocket starts to get deeper, they can no longer keep that tooth clean, and as the bacteria gets down into the sulcus, we're going to get inflammation, and eventually bone breakdown, and full-blown periodontal disease.
I also find having cross-sectional pictures of a tooth, you can get those at many of the suppliers. I've seen great animations that you can slide the mouth and show progressive periodontal breakdown.
Remember, your patients are visual learners, and they first and foremost have to understand that bleeding gums is not normal. So again, talking to them about cleansability, the drain on systemic health, breath issues that come about from this, and that this is really the silent taker of teeth - this is the number one way that we lose teeth - those are the things that drive patients.
Couple that with good photography and beginning with taking the time to show them a healthy part of their mouth and then show them the part of the mouth that's the disease will start to get them to ask what they need to get taken care of. We just simply have to stop doing prophies on our patients when they do have periodontal problems, whether it's a Type II, Type III, or Type IV type scenario.
I think if you start implementing some of these strategies in your practice, train your hygienists to utilize similar verbal skills, you're going to find the standard of care is going to raise in your practice and patients are going to start accepting optimum care. So good luck with that.