So one of the problems that I face in my practice is how do I talk about all these things, the signs of instability and the requirements of a stable occlusion, in a hygiene visit? And I used to try. And I would watch my patient's eyes kind of glaze over and I was feeling the pressure from my hygienist. She's like, "Hey, hurry up. We've got to stay on time."
And I realized I have to do something different here because they weren't accepting to come back to do their bite analysis or their smile analysis. Most people would get up there and be like, "No, I'll just see you again for the next hygiene."
So I knew I had to do something. And so I started implementing just talking briefly about what I was seeing in their mouth and then scheduling them back for a one-hour exam where we would do the full, complete exam that we learn in the records and examination course, and I just focus on that. I take a few photos, show them the photos and go through the exam. When I implemented the one hour exam, my patients began to understand and we co-diagnosed together and they saw the problem just like we, as the dentists, get to see the problem and they were able to understand. But doing that in a five-minute hygiene check was way too stressful, too many complications.
Be an Educator
And so to get them back and actually implement that hour exam and spend more time with the patient, just as The Dawson Academy recommends, is a great way to help be an educator. And that's what we all are. As doctors, we're educators. We're teachers. And our job is to do our very best for our patients, to help them understand everything from caries to periodontal disease and occlusal disease - and occlusal disease just is something that's less understood to them.
So taking this time, I feel that they feel that I appreciate them and that I am really looking out for their well-being by spending extra time with them. I hope implementing this one-hour exam will really help your patients achieve great oral health.
To learn more about the exam and records process that allows for accurate and full diagnoses and the information necessary to predictably treatment plan, begin with Functional Occlusion - From TMJ to Smile Design.