Preventive Dentistry Continued...
The lack of a true preventive philosophy in so many dental offices builds frustration and apathy among many patients and is the primary reason an estimated 25 million people in the U.S. have decided that dentistry has nothing better to offer than a long expensive patch-up job, and ultimately choose to have all of their teeth removed.
A dental office’s primary responsibility should be achieving and maintaining health rather than treatment of disease. If this is true, how do you sell preventive dentistry to your patients? The answer is YOU DON’T! If there is anything that can’t be sold, it is preventive dentistry. We know of nothing more impossible to sell than responsibility.
You can sell anything that people can receive passively, but you cannot sell anything that requires participation on part of the patient. It just won’t sell! People don’t perceive “brush more, floss more” as a learning experience. What does work?
How do you get patients to buy into preventive dentistry and behavioral change?
We know that “talking and teaching does not lead to listening and learning.” We tell patients “It is when you are thinking for yourself that counts most…not just listing to us.”
We encourage people to think deeply about their mouth; and the more they think, the more often they accept responsibility for their health. We cannot cure people but can only lead them to a better understanding of themselves and help them discover their own problems and develop their own solutions with our guidance.
Can patients change their habits to become really healthy?
If we can get our patients to sit down and think about the past, the present, and the future, they will begin to develop a plan; and as they begin to develop a plan they will believe and they will be willing to act.
If we can help people visualize their future and gain control, then they will move forward. People will stay where they feel secure, and not change their oral habits unless they sense that new regimens of health will allow them to keep their teeth for a lifetime.