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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 C. Cranham, DDS has an esthetic oriented practice in Chesapeake, Virginia. An honors graduate of the Medical College of Virginia in 1988, Dr. Cranham maintains a strong relationship with his alma mater as an Associate Clinical Professor. He is an internationally recognized speaker on the Esthetic Principles of Dentistry, Contemporary Occlusal Concepts, Treatment Planning, Restoration Selection, Digital Photography, Laboratory Communication, and Happiness and Fulfillment in dentistry. As a published author, Dr. Cranham has a strong commitment to developing sound educational programs that exceed the needs of today’s dental professional. He is an active member of numerous professional organizations including the American Dental Association, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, The American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics, and The American Equilibration Society. Dr. Cranham is co-chair of Advanstar Dental Media’s CE Advisory Board (Advanstar is the publisher of Dental Products Report). Dr. Cranham is the Clinical Director of The Dawson Academy where he is involved with many of the lecture and hands-on courses within the curriculum. As an active educator, he has provided over 650 days of continuing education for dental professionals throughout the world.