Mastering the Art of Dental Patient Education

dental patient education

Mastering the Art of Dental Patient Education

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”

This age-old expression has countless applications but it sometimes feels the most relevant in medicine – especially the field of dentistry. It can be a frustrating experience for a clinician; they accurately diagnose an issue, one that stands to only become worse without treatment, only for the patient to refuse the needed treatment.

For whatever reason, patients often perceive oral health issues as less important than those in other areas of the body. While part of this may be due to logical fallacy on the part of the patient, it is an issue that can be addressed in part by improved patient education.

If patients better understood just how exactly various oral health complications were affecting their daily lives as well as their overall and future systemic health, they may be more inclined to accept the proposed treatment. This would be a mutually beneficial proposition. Patients could enjoy improved health while avoiding more costly and unpleasant issues down the road. Meanwhile, clinicians could do better, more fulfilling work, while also generating more revenue.

Below are a few tips on accomplishing this mutually advantageous goal by mastering dental patient education.


Allow time for more thorough explanations

Your first instinct may be to expedite a dental appointment (if even by a few minutes) to allow for an extra patient or two to be scheduled each day. While this may initially seem like a good way to boost revenue, it can come at the expense of patient education. When time is cut shorter with each patient to accommodate the next in line quicker, that is time lost that could be used to answer patient questions and educate them on treatments.

This, in turn, reduces case acceptance. Accepted treatment will net your practice far more revenue than that earned from an additional one or two appointments. Instead, leave appointments padded with some extra time to more thoroughly explain findings and diagnoses and why the patient would benefit from receiving treatment now.


Answer frequently asked questions proactively

In your time as a dentist or dental specialist, you have undoubtedly noticed a pattern in the questions you receive after diagnosing an issue. Integrate the answers to these questions into your initial explanation instead of waiting for patients to ask the right questions. They may not always think to ask those specific questions, and therefore, may not always receive the information they need.

Being mindful of this fact, you should strive to ensure that your dental patients are receiving the maximum level of education without needing to pose a question they may not be aware that they should ask.


Use technology to bolster dental patient education

Oftentimes, a verbal explanation simply is not enough to fully enlighten patients about the issues they are experiencing. Even then, gray, blurry 2D X-ray images can create more questions than they answer.

On the other hand, an option like CBCT imaging goes a long way in educating patients in a way they can truly see with their own eyes. For instance, the crystal-clear imaging and maneuverable vantage points can help them understand where an issue is occurring and what exactly is happening even when they aren’t experiencing pain. Once they understand these two key pieces of information, they will often become more motivated to treat the issues they are facing.

Check out a couple of our case studies here to see what we mean.

Would you like to learn more about how cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) technology can improve patient education? If so, call us today at 855-PREXION or find a representative in your area. Our representatives can help you gain a better understanding of how CBCT technology can generate revenue for your practice.