Motivating Periodontal Patients to Accept TreatmentOctober 5, 2011 | Category Periodontal Management
It can be frustrating when periodontal patients reject your treatment recommendations. Don’t let past rejections control your current patient conversations. Periodontal disease is dangerously undertreated and you can increase patient acceptance by communicating a few key facts.
Key Fact: Delaying periodontal treatment has costly consequences.
Research shows that patients with severe periodontal disease have healthcare costs 21% higher than those without. Not only will refusing treatment in the early stages of periodontal disease likely lead to more expensive treatments like surgery down the road, but due to inflammation spreading throughout the body, other healthcare costs go up as well. After explaining the mounting consequences of avoiding immediate treatment, patients are more likely to accept your recommendations.
Key Fact: Periodontal disease affects your physical appearance.
Appearance can be a powerful motivator. As periodontal disease progresses causing gum recession, tooth loss and eventually bone loss, resulting changes in the facial appearance are permanent. In a recent study in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, researchers found that bone loss in the jaw, as well as eye sockets and cheeks, aged people in ways that cosmetic surgery can’t fix. Patients are highly motivated by a desire to avoid tooth loss, and the physical consequences of that loss.
Key Fact: Periodontal disease will not get better without treatment, only worse.
It seems simple, but because periodontal disease is often symptomless, patients assume they have plenty of time to get it treated and that they are in no immediate danger. Explaining the presence of bacteria in the mouth, and the damage it will continue to do until removed, makes the need for treatment more urgent for patients.
Remember – be clear but empathetic during these discussions with patients. Let them know your recommendations are based on maintaining their overall health and well being. And watch your periodontal treatment acceptance go up!