As soon as we hygienists pick up a mouth mirror, we play a significant role in accessing the restorative and periodontal health of our patients.
While aspiring to deliver a higher professional standard of care, we hygienists are creating an avenue to impact the health and quality of life of our patients.
What more fulfilling position of influence could one ask for?
We all know that our patients rely heavily on us for answers regarding their treatment questions. We also know that they often share their fears exclusively with us, and not the dentist!
Therefore, become very familiar with the specific details of therapy that your practice offers that may be complicated or may cause anxiety in your patient. Providing caring explanations and sharing success stories of similar procedures will ensure that our patients will make confident and correct choices regarding their dental treatment.
Encourage Patient Involvement with Their Oral Evaluation
Use maintenance visits to review your patients’ successful past restorative or periodontal care. Phrase questions in a manner that will invite your patient to talk with you.
One question that I use is simply;” How may I help you today?” Often this one question may provoke quite a conversation about concerns, fears or even disappointment about past treatment.
I encourage you to take the time to ask this question at the beginning of your visit, while the patient is sitting up, looking you square in the eye.
Co-discovery/coaching through the use of an intra-oral camera is often the most effective means to educate our patients while creating value for the services your team performs.
However, if you do not have access to a camera you must get out that old hand mirror or display model and develop a visual picture for your patient.
Bridge the Oral-Systemic Gap
Many patients are not aware of the growing number oral-systemic health links and how a recommended periodontal treatment plan and home oral care regimen can have a positive impact on their overall health.
As front line oral-systemic specialists, hygienists can educate patients and guide them on the path of achieving a longer health span - In other words, a better quality of life in their later years.
Remember, your patients depend on you to unravel the mysteries of their mouths!