If you’ve been seeing a patient for three years and haven’t asked them how they feel about the condition of their mouth, you’re missing more than the boat. You’re losing a fortune in treatment opportunities. Engage the patient in conversation about their oral health goals. Trust, me they are in your office and expect to talk about more than just the weather and the kids.
Ask several broad questions and listen to what your patient is and is not telling you. For example, “How do you feel about your smile? How well can you chew with your partial? How would you like it if your lower teeth were straight? Have you ever thought you would like to have a brighter smile? Are you avoiding certain foods because it’s becoming more difficult to chew?”
Use the questions to better understand the value your patient places on oral health care and how they perceive their individual oral health condition. Encourage the patient to talk.
Educate the patient about new treatments that are offered in the practice. Provide patients with professionally written and designed materials that inform them about new services and procedures. Recommend websites where the patient can learn more. How are they supposed to know what you can do if you don’t tell them?