Would you agree that most patients are interested in information and dentistry that will prevent them developing dental problems in the future?
It's my experience that dental practices are generally good at encouraging proper diet and self-care habits that will prevent dental caries and periodontal disease. However, not so many practices do a good job of helping their patients understand occlusal disease.
Here are three simple steps that I use with a very high success rate.
- Tell them you ‘focus’ on a disease caused by destructive bite forces and tell them all of the possible effects such as temporal headaches, jaw sticking and popping, teeth grinding, sensitivity, history of breaking teeth and possible loose teeth.
- Show them visibly using a visual tool such as BiteFX animation software what a stable bite looks like
and some of the things you’ll be looking for as you conduct their dental exam such as anterior guidance, a seated condyle in centric relation and normal muscle function. Don’t be bashful to tell them you understand they haven’t had this type of exam previously as most dental schools skim over occlusion but you’ve had extensive post graduate training in this field.
- Perform a comprehensive exam of the teeth, periodontal tissues and the occlusion and help them understand their role in disease prevention and your role in controlling destructive bite forces. As they learn for the first time why they are suffering from a bad bite, don’t be surprised when they ask “How do you fix the bite problem?”
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