Oral systemic health will save your patients’ lives.
You understand a healthy mouth is essential to a healthy life. Until you help your patients understand that oral health/overall health connection, they’re not benefiting from your care. You might a well offer a glass of water to a drowning man. But you can help your patients understand quickly what you need to do, and what they need to do, to take advantage of remarkable new breakthroughs in oral care.
Step 1: Introduction. Let new patients know upfront you’re not the average dental office. Explain the oral systemic approach in intake paperwork, introductory literature and reminder cards. Don’t wait until your patient’s in the exam chair to start the conversation—let them know what to expect and why you’re different—better—than the others.
Step 2: Visualize. The human mind understands new concepts best when they’re linked to a picture. Hang posters in waiting rooms and throughout your office that clearly show signs and symptoms of oral inflammation—and photos of successful treatment.
Step 3: Verbalize. Talk to your patients. Discuss any oral health issues you find on examination. Help your patients understand what’s going on and how a healthy body depends on a healthy mouth. And also that the latest oral health care needn’t be prohibitively expensive.
Step 4: Emotionalize. Inform your patients that oral inflammation increases the increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and dementia. They need to know that a healthy mouth is more than just brushing and flossing. Their lives depend on this knowledge.
Step 5: Eliminate the problem. Aggressively treat oral inflammation and biofilm. Adopt a zero tolerance for bleeding gums. Develop a treatment plan. Schedule regular follow-ups and encourage home maintenance.
Involve your entire team in these five steps. When you follow this painless process from start to finish, you won’t add time to appointments. A simple system will help you save lives and expand your practice. You’ll quickly find your patients becoming fans and advocates for the role you’ve played in building health and prolonging life. Incorporating oral systemic health into your practice will help you grow your practice even as some other dentists struggle to keep their doors open.
With these simple steps you’ll dramatically increase case acceptance, patient retention and new referrals as I have done. You’ll also see a dramatic decrease in no-shows. Patients gladly accept responsibility for their oral health when they understand how important it is.
Most important, you’ll be able to connect with your patients on a deeper level while improving the overall health of the community. Awareness is the first step toward change. Help your patients take that first step toward better health and a longer life.
What are your concerns about introducing a new level of care to your patients? Please comment below.