COLTENE’s Mark Allen: Your role in your dental patients’ happiness
In the months to come, you could notice a change in the demand for certain services. Once any backlog of routine appointments has finally been smoothed out and normal scheduling is back in place, you may find that some people place a higher value on their oral health than ever before.
Prevention has been a focus for the specialist press for a while – but most patients don’t read dental journals. You will have been doing what you can to deliver the message, often with limited resources (including time), but obstacles remain. For example, our older population, they will have a background of little or no preventive education.
That’s not to say you won’t see any older patients with beautifully looked-after teeth and gums, but truly understanding the value of prevention may require a shift in mindset. It’s also fair to say for every age group the overlap between good oral health and general health is often underappreciated.
Those faced with the concept of restorative dental work for the first time may be surprised at how efficiently and cost-effectively it can be delivered – often in a single visit. For example, COLTENE’s BRILLIANT COMPONEER ( www.coltene.com ) delivers a beautiful outcome in a single session; the prefabricated veneer shells exhibit great polishability and long-lasting gloss.
Restorative dentistry isn’t just about making the smile look better; a beautiful smile is about aesthetics, and function. It helps prevent, intercept and/or manage potential dental disease by making the teeth and oral cavity easier to clean, and obviates conditions such as food trapping, or painful tooth wear; which are the enemies of long-term oral health.
We are living and working in changed times and one difference between “then” and “now” is a new commitment to programmes of improved self-care. Some people’s needs and values have changed, thanks to a greater awareness that good health, including good oral heath, is a necessity.
Self-care is as much about taking care of the mind as the body. Deciding to live a healthier lifestyle, including our oral hygiene regime, helps us feel more positive about ourselves and less stressed, and might help avoid systemic conditions in the future including heart disease and dementia.
Oral health has become a factor in the conversation around mental health and wellbeing. Dental disease can exacerbate psychological disorders including stress, anxiety and depression, especially when it might impact our willingness to interact socially.
Our health is important and recent events have put it firmly centre stage. So, people will be looking to you, their dentist, to help improve their dental hygiene and keep it maintained at a high standard, and will be more receptive to the prevention message than ever before.
With the recent re-jig of what many of us truly value and appreciate, it’s the so-called “little” things that have proven to be incredibly important. Along with (finally) getting a proper haircut, people might be aspiring to a more beautiful smile. There is a large body of evidence to support the psychological benefits of smiling. A smile they are proud of improves their wellbeing – and brightens the day for anyone who receives one.
By explaining to your patients how they can enjoy better oral health now and for years to come – and doing so simply and effectively – you provide a better practice visit experience for your patients, and might even help them think of you as a friend and advisor rather than a painful healthcare necessity.