The Most Boring Patient
Boring? Yes, that’s what we call them. And it is a celebration of dental success! Many of these special patients have, in the past, presented with broken mouths. Busted up fillings, decay, leaky fillings, worn teeth, root canal therapies – you name it. They were in search of dental salvation, and we feel privileged that they chose us.
We feel privileged to have witnessed the commitment that they made to their dental health and came out triumphant. Not only did these patients achieve stability – they’ve maintained that consistent stability for years – many for decades. So, what is the secret to this dental success? Let me share it with you – I hope you don’t find it boring!
COMMITMENT TO A DENTAL PLAN
All of these patients had problems. They submitted to an examination and then sat down with me to discuss the treatment plan. When I discuss a treatment plan with a patient – it’s not about “making a sale.”
I explain to almost every patient that I’ve got no interest in talking them into or out of treatments. Discussing a plan is about appropriateness. Are the plan’s proposed outcomes in line with the patient’s expectations? Is the plan too complex? Can the plan be phased over a number of years? These are all essential questions that, if answered correctly, will support the outcome.
EXECUTION OF THE PLAN
Many of these patients have proceeded with their dental care, knowing full well that they would have to commit to a number of appointments each year for several years in order to complete the plan. Sometimes, these patients have had to make decisions along the path of the plan because not all plans work out perfectly. These patients have been consistent in their execution of the plan.
REGULAR EXAMINATIONS AND PROFESSIONAL CLEANING OF TEETH
This aspect of success is critical. These patients have made a habit of ensuring regular examinations, x-rays and professional cleaning of their teeth. This provides the opportunity to help these patients around education about diet, improving their home care, and managing genetic/medical factors that may impede successful results. As a dentist, these examinations are vital to my care because I can have a problem with my dental work – the same way any other dentist can have a problem. I am as critical of my own dental treatments as I am of anyone else’s dental treatments. At these examinations – if I find a problem with my dental work, I offer to fix it. It’s not a lifetime guarantee, but many problems caught early are fixed at no charge. It’s about consistent follow up.
DEDICATION TO HOME CARE AND DIET
If you haven’t worked it out yet – these patients are consistent. They are consistent about their home cleaning programs. They take on advice and education around the improvement of their home care program. Sure, they may “fall off the wagon” from time to time… BUT THEY GET BACK ON. In the same way about diet and lifestyle – these patients endeavour to be consistent around when and what they eat.
I don’t always feel confident that patients will accept the status of boring. But I’m surprised at the consistency of their response when, together, we realize that they’ve made the boring grade because – Boring is Good!
This article was originally published here at intouch Magazine.
DR ALEX HUSZTI BelleDental
Alex has had a career focused on low-biologic cost reconstructive cosmetic dental care – common sense teeth for life. Alex services clients in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Maitland areas.