How to Conduct Proper Patient Education
A dentist, or any medical health practitioner for that matter, is not just tasked with restoring damaged teeth or getting rid of pain. Part of the many roles of a dentist is to educate his or her patients regarding procedures and preventing the same dental issues from arising again. Healing a patient is of little to no use if a dentist does not make the patient understand exactly what had happened to him, how the problem was corrected, and how he can prevent the problem from surfacing for the second time. To ensure that the patient fully understands what the patient is harping about during the segment called patient education, here are a few tips to follow:
Avoid Medical Jargons – Although this might be close to impossible to not use jargons and technical terms when talking to a patient, a dentist has to try very hard to use easy to understand words. This may take a great deal of practice but a dentist who does not go down to the level of his patient when explaining procedures and conditions will only betray the true purpose behind patient education. If it is unavoidable to use a medical term, make sure to right away explain this term to your patient.
Use Visual Aids – A dentist can be very articulate but without visual aids, the patient is really just imagining stuff in his head and you’ll never know if they’re on the same page or if the patient is thinking of something else instead. To avoid this confusion, make use of visual aids like before and after pictures or even a video. A video is more preferable in that the patient can clearly view the procedure in action. However, special equipment like computers and LCD projectors may be required for when showing videos.
Be Responsive – There are only two reasons for why patients decide to reject treatment – financial constraints and fear of the unknown. Do not wait for your patient to ask questions. Rather, pre-empt this questions instead. When it comes to money, make sure that you offer financing options to your patient should she wish to avail of any one of them. At the same time, be ready to answer queries pertaining to pain, use of anesthetics and medications. Talk about the immediate effects of each procedure like swelling or bleeding and how long till these symptoms subside. Also, make sure to explain how certain equipment used in the procedure will function.