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Quick Tip: Words to Use with Patients (and Avoid)

As Dawson-trained dentists, one of things that is most exciting and fun for us is going over specialty treatment. Taking our patients to records and going over the checklists, the photos, and the Wizard, and figuring out a long-term treatment plan for them.

The problem is, that we experience at our office, is getting our patients to records. Some of the terms that we use are confusing and we lose them in the process.

As Dr. Dawson told us, a word such as equilibration is a word we should never use. There are a lot of ways, both Dr. Dawson and the lead faculty communicate to patients in layman's terms to help simplify the process.

HubSpot Video

There was actually a lecture in 2006 at the AACD by two CR dentists, Dr. Jimmy Eubanks and Dr. Jeff Morley, where they talked about ways they simplify the words they use to get people to records. Words that I'm talking about are words like articulator, equilibration, occlusion, and an CR-MI discrepancy.

So the words that they use were:

  • Instead of saying, "An articulator," say, "Bite machine."
  • Instead of saying, "Equilibration," say, "Bite balancing," or as Pete tells us, "We want to even out your bite."
  • Instead of occlusion, say, "Engineering," or, "You have a bad bite."
  • And instead of saying somebody has a CR-MI discrepancy, tell them that they have two bites and that we want them to have one bite.

Using terms like these has helped both myself and my team communicate to our patients the importance of getting to records.

Dental Patient Communication Quiz


Picture of Dr. Pio Modi

Dr. Pio Modi is the Associate Director of the Ambassador Program for the Dawson Academy and the Study Club leader for the Toronto Club. He maintains a private practice in Brantford, Ontario, Canada with a specific focus on Full Arch Restorative, Cosmetic and Implant/Surgical Dentistry.