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How to Get a Patient to Accept Dental Treatment

patient acceptanceSometimes it’s hard to get patients to understand and accept the need for treatment.

The first thing to understand when it comes to patient acceptance is that patients won’t accept any course of treatment if they don’t understand that they have a problem. Particularly with equilibration it is important during the context of the examination that you first have a basic discussion about what optimum health is.

Patients are capable of understanding that there is an ideal relationship or alignment between the joints, muscle, and teeth. They also are capable of understanding that if there’s not proper alignment, then they could have signs of instability or signs of disease. But you need tell the patient before you look in their mouth that the signs of disease that indicate not having a good bite are:

  • Wear
  • Mobility
  • Migration
  • Sore muscles
  • Changes in the temporomandibular joints

If you have that basic discussion up front and then show the patient during the examination the problems that exist, the obvious question the patient will ask is “what are we going to do about it?” At that point, it is fairly easy to get patients to accept the fact that you really need to do a more thorough look. A more thorough look will include  impressions, a facebow registration, and a bite registration so that you can do a complete diagnosis.

Patients that understand what optimum health is and are shown how they depart from the optimum through your clinical examination and on mounted models then have no trouble understanding that just a reshaping of teeth is often all that is required to be able to create an optimum occlusion.

The mistake that we make with many of our patients is just going right to the procedure without giving any context of why.

Just remember, teach the patient what normal is and show them how they depart from it first so that the logical choice is for them to accept treatment to fix the problem.

Photo Credit: broodkast via Compfight cc

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John Cranham, DDS is the clinical director of The Dawson Academy, where he teaches many of the lectures and hands-on courses. Dr. Cranham runs an esthetic-oriented practice in Chesapeake, Virginia. Dr. Cranham is an internationally recognized speaker with 25 years of experience.