4 ways to increase periodontal case acceptance

Oct. 14, 2014
My gums don't hurt. Why do I need treatment? If I need it, why doesn't my insurance cover it? Can't I just wait and see if it gets better? My gums have always bled; it's just how they are.

by Kristen Esler, RDH

My gums don't hurt. Why do I need treatment? If I need it, why doesn't my insurance cover it? Can't I just wait and see if it gets better? My gums have always bled; it's just how they are.

1. Talk about gum health while gums are still healthy.

All patients, regardless of their periodontal condition, should understand the importance of healthy gums. By including oral-systemic education as a standard component of patient interactions, patients will better understand the value of both preventive and therapeutic oral care. Topics that should be discussed regularly include: the prevalence of periodontal disease; the connection between periodontal disease, diabetes, and heart disease; and the need for periodic evaluation of oral health. The Total Health program includes brochures and videos that can help the dental team present this information to patients. Don't wait until patients have active disease to tell them how terrible that disease is.

2. Show and tell with the patient's own pictures.

Pictures are still worth a thousand words, especially when explaining a condition that has few physical symptoms. Use an intraoral camera to capture images of inflamed gum tissue and recession that can be displayed on a monitor for patients. Cameras such as SoproCare identify areas of periodontal inflammation and calculus using color coding to make it easy for patients to see where the problems are. Highlight the areas of the mouth that require treatment. Then, correlate those areas to the pocket depths that you share during the periodontal exam and explain how each area should be treated.

3. Know your audience.

Use personal knowledge of the patient to customize your presentation to appeal to each patient's specific needs and wants. For patients who prioritize whitening and esthetics, share the long-term impact of periodontal disease on their smiles. For health-conscious patients, shift your message to the systemic impact of inflammation. Share recent research or direct patients to resources such as the American Academy of Periodontology and the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health to learn more. Patients with diabetes or cardiovascular disease should understand the financial impact of periodontal disease. Share the results of research studies that demonstrate the reduction in health-care costs for patients who treat periodontal disease. Refine your approach based on communication styles.

4. Don't wing it.

Protocols dictate that your standard of care be consistent. Protocols also create cohesion among the team and reinforce patient confidence in your recommendations. While each patient receives a custom treatment plan, the content of that plan should be determined using the office's periodontal protocols. Each team member should know the recommended treatment for a patient with moderate bleeding, pocket depths of 5 mm, early bone loss, and prediabetes. As part of your protocol, add periodontal management to your morning huddle agenda. Review the results of case presentations and have the team contribute suggestions for improving acceptance.

With what we know today about the connection between the health of the mouth and health of the body, running an effective periodontal management program is critical for both the practice and the patients. For optimal treatment compliance, review your current systems to ensure that patients are getting the information they need. For help implementing or updating your program, visit HenryScheinBusinessSolutions.com.

Kristen Esler, RDH, is the general manager for Henry Schein's Great Lakes Zone. In addition to leading teams in three states, Kristen trains hundreds of sales representatives nationally to implement successful periodontal programs.

Sponsored Recommendations

Clinical Study: OraCare Reduced Probing Depths 4450% Better than Brushing Alone

Good oral hygiene is essential to preserving gum health. In this study the improvements seen were statistically superior at reducing pocket depth than brushing alone (control ...

Clincial Study: OraCare Proven to Improve Gingival Health by 604% in just a 6 Week Period

A new clinical study reveals how OraCare showed improvement in the whole mouth as bleeding, plaque reduction, interproximal sites, and probing depths were all evaluated. All areas...

Chlorine Dioxide Efficacy Against Pathogens and How it Compares to Chlorhexidine

Explore our library of studies to learn about the historical application of chlorine dioxide, efficacy against pathogens, how it compares to chlorhexidine and more.

Enhancing Your Practice Growth with Chairside Milling

When practice growth and predictability matter...Get more output with less input discover chairside milling.