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Importance of Strong & Cleanable Teeth to Case Acceptance

Formula for Case AcceptanceIn this session of how to increase case acceptance, I want to focus on optimum restorative solutions.

With that, when we're talking about teeth, whether it's a quadrant or an individual tooth, I want you to remember two words: strength and clean-ability.

When we're talking with patients about teeth that need to have work done on them, we first have to drive home the point that every surface of every tooth has to be cleanable. If the patient can't clean it and easily get the bacteria off the tooth, it's just sort of a matter of time before the bacteria sets up shop, and they end up with some problems.

So anything that's open on an x-ray, any little crack, any open margin on a filling is something that we can show them with a mirror or with really good photography. I find that whether you're using an intraoral camera or a nice occlusal shot with a really good digital SLR camera, both of those are great options to be able to show patients areas that may not meet that particular point.

Transcript continued below...


The second thing we need to understand, they need to understand the concept of a restoration or a tooth being strong enough to withstand forces.

So when you start showing them large fillings that go across the mesial occlusal distal that occupy maybe more than a third of the isthmus, or you start showing them cracks or craze lines that may or may not be sensitive when they bite on them, those are all indications that we now may have a tooth where the restoration is not designed to be able to allow the patient to function optimally on it.

Here again, what we're trying to get patients to think about is optimum oral health, and that is a scenario where the patient can keep their teeth and health and function for a lifetime. If that is, in fact, the patient's goal, and they're driven by trying to treat dental problems when they're smaller rather than larger, then these very simple explanations regarding clean-ability and strength become almost intuitive to the patient.

I think if you use those two words and combine it with photography day in and day out, you're going to find patients readily accepting treatment, whether it's a single tooth quadrant or even a whole mouth. It starts to make sense with them. So good luck.

How to Effectively Communicate with Dental Patients

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