How Much Do You Really Want Your Patients to Know?
In recent decades the health care culture has changed from what it once was. It used to be one in which the doctor was the authority, and all of his patients blindly trusted his word. Now the culture has switched to one where we as patients have become independent thinkers. We have realized the need to become our own advocates and not rely solely on what the good doctor says. In many ways this has been a positive change, but has it ever caused problems for you or your patients? Does it always seem to benefit your patient? Does it ever stand in the way of the patient listening and learning from their own trusted doctor? What if the information is misunderstood or misused? What if the information is actually wrong?
As a dentist, what do you want your patients to really know about their oral health?
My good friend, Heidi, recently debuted her book called How to Avoid the Dentist. Heidi is an excellent dental hygienist who I worked closely with for several years. This woman loves dentistry, and she loves her patients. She gives them her cell phone number and calls them after appointments to make sure they are okay. She hugs them when they arrive and when they leave. She not only does her best to provide the best service available, but she also spends the time to teach her patients how to care for their teeth themselves. She individualizes her care for each person. And one thing about Heidi is that she often has an opinion, and she’s not afraid to share it. Over the years it has become her mission to share her “get real” advice in order to help protect her patients. In her efforts to protect and guide them to getting the best treatment from their dentist, she has compiled years of her observations into a book aimed at giving patients the knowledge and tools they need to get the most out of their dental care.
Heidi shares her opinions on many controversial issues in the dental field. Do you want your patients to hear that amalgam fillings may be a significant source of mercury toxicity? Or that your patient may not really need the scaling and root planing or crown that you recommended? Or how about suggesting the use of a product called Periogen to dissolve calculus as an ALTERNATIVE to scaling and root planing?
These are just a few of her suggestions in the book. So check it out, and then tell me what you think. Is this the type of information you want your patients to know, or would you prefer they didn’t? Why, or why not?