Communicating to patients their issues and the ramifications of not treating those issues is essential not only to treatment acceptance, but to practicing ethical dentistry.
Below you’ll find a Quick Tip on how to begin the conversation with a patient of record about an issue found.
Here’s something I’ve learned to do at a hygiene visit when the patient is told by the hygienist that this tooth is having a problem. The hygienist has told me it looks like it needs a crown, but she is waiting for me to make that decision. I will come in and I’ll look at that tooth and a word I use a lot is the word “yet”. So remember the word “yet.”
So how I use it is, I look at that tooth and I’ll look at the patient and say, “Has that started to hurt yet?” It’s a whole different mindset than if you ask, “Does that hurt?”
So, “Is that starting to bother you yet?” “Is that hurting yet? Because we sure don’t want to wait till it hurts because then it might need a root canal.” So that word “yet” is very powerful in my opinion.