July 22, 2011
Within every area of our lives, proper communication is critical. This is especially true between the dentist and patient because much of dentistry is done to satisfy a patients concern about a problem that they have identified.
Years ago, dentistry was fairly simple. Our understanding of the disease process was limited and the focus was on the obvious. Usually the conversation revolved around if the patient had cavities, how many and how many appointments would it take to fix them. Even the financial discussion was fairly brief because years ago, dental insurance would pay a much greater percentage of treatment as compared to today. That is a topic for another blog.
Today, we have a much greater understanding of the several disease processes that affect our patients. We also have a tremendous number of new materials and techniques at our disposal to restore teeth to their original beauty. This has led to a number of different options usually available to treat specific dental concerns.
It is because we now have these options that communication has become more important between patient and doctor than ever before. The options available to us vary greatly in cost, complexity and in the final result. We are blessed to be able to give our patients more treatment options than ever before. It is critical that the patient and the dental team agree on an appropriate treatment plan for each individual patient.
No two patients are alike, so treatment must be tailored to the individual. This is where communication is key, both from the patient and from the doctor. So please, ask your dental team to explain your treatment options so that you completely understand your choices. No question should seem too trivial and keep asking until you understand all the issues. It will make everyone happier. There is nothing better than an educated patient.
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