"People must look and/or think ahead to develop their own plan. We can educate and teach people many things, and perhaps even sell them a fair amount of dentistry... but if it's not perspective of where they're going, it isn't so meaningful. What would you really like to have?"
As dentists, it's probably more important that we understand what is going on in the upper half of the patient's head than the lower half. We need to remember that talking and teaching is not the same as listening and learning. People need to think for themselves to be able to learn, and this is not done by simply giving the answers, but by asking questions. People need to solve their own problems for them to remain solved.
If we can sit down with a patient and with our guidance help them to think and diagnose themselves, we have no need to lecture them about what we've found, or try to convince them of what needs to be done. They're already there.
A mutually developed treatment plan is vital and intrinsic to our brand of dentistry. We like to visualize these treatment plans by dividing them into two stages: the control phase and the restorative phase.
The control phase consists of short range goals. It's important to obtain initial control over tooth decay and gum disease. Areas of decay and dental disease are identified and treated in a manner chosen by the patient and doctor. The restorative phase is where your long term goals for a comfortable, functional, and attractive mouth are realized. This involves replacing missing teeth, correcting bite discrepancies, treating TMJ problems, working with implants, and providing cosmetic dentistry.
The real beauty of this long range planning is that with your dental health under your control you need to start the restorative phase only when you are ready... when it fits your budget and when you truly want it. Get it only when you sense the value in raising the comfort, function, and attractiveness of your smile to a higher level.
In judging the success of our office we feel that The Health of our Practice is determined by the Health of our Patients.