Thinking like a hero, regarding our patient’s oral health, is much like how we teach our children the importance of good study habits. If your teenager is struggling with a class, we as parents don’t just say “try a little harder” nor do we do their homework for them. Instead, we use every resource available to help them succeed. We help them study, we talk with the teacher or maybe get a tutor, spending more time and money if necessary.
To insure that your patient perceives you as a hero with the solution, let’s make sure we are doing the following at each appointment:
- Record all pocket depths and bleeding once a year
- Include the patient in the whole probing process; calling out the numbers and bleeding sites while they are watching with a patient mirror so they can see the bleeding and hear the depths
- Sit the patient up and discuss the findings eye to eye and encourage them to view the printed probe sheet with you
- Don’t use minimizing words to describe their disease like “a little bleeding” or “a little infection”
- Review the patient’s risk factors that could be contributing to the disease process and discuss the oral and systemic link at all appointments
- Inform the doctor of the patient’s current state of disease and the concerns along with the involvement of the patient
- Educate the patient thoroughly of the solutions and ongoing treatment that will be needed to have maximum results and benefits, including perio maintenance and the possibility of having to see a periodontist for further treatment
- Alert admin team of the treatment plan so they can prepare for the treatment consult with the patient before they are scheduled for subsequent appointments
Keep the patient involved and informed of their disease level at each and every visit. Give encouragement with what that they are doing well, but never be afraid to recommend the proper treatment and services that are needed. Remember, YOU ARE A HYGIENE HERO BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE SOLUTIONS!