October 2021 Social Commentary
Like Dimensions of Dental Hygiene’s Facebook page to share your thoughts on posted questions.
What is an “outside of the box” recommendation you give to help patients improve their oral health?
Erin Haley-Hitz, RDH, MS Dimensions Facebook Commenter
I use appreciative inquiry, motivational interviewing, and the fact that I really want to support THEIR goals. They cannot be mine. I want to support their self-determination and self-efficacy in this area. If you support their plan, you will gain their trust and will be more successful in the long run.
Veronica Bonta, BS, RDH Dimensions Brand Ambassador
I tell my patients who have trouble sticking with a flossing routine to buy a bag of flossers and keep them in the car so they can floss when they are stuck in traffic on the way to work. @verbonica
I try to make it easy for them: use a water flosser while you shower, floss while you watch television, etc.
Marissa Gola, RDH Dimensions Facebook Commenter
In our periodontal practice, patients are not able to move forward with scaling and root planing or surgery until they go through oral health instruction with an assistant for 30 minutes. They then return 2 weeks later for a re-evaluation to make sure they’re brushing correctly. If they pass the re-evaluation, they can move forward with treatment. If they don’t pass, their techniques are tweaked and they have another assessment 2 weeks later. We won’t let patients waste their time or money on treatment if they’re not capable of removing the source of the disease.
Chelsea Camden, RDH Dimensions Facebook Commenter
I NEVER shame or belittle them. There was a time when I didn’t floss because my parents didn’t take me to the dentist or show me how. When patients say they don’t floss much, I tell them we are all human and to focus on improving things now before there are major consequences. I also let them know that none of us is perfect, but I explain the risks of not keeping up with oral hygiene because I care about their nice smiles and never want them to see me 5+ years later saying “I wish I would have known.” I ultimately tell them they own their teeth and it’s our job to give them good advice. The rest is up to them. I always make it an easy conversation and talk like I would to a friend.
Focus on changing one thing per appointment. For example, ask the patient to focus on better brushing on one specific quadrant. Then, ask for the arch at the next visit, and so on.
I tell them to eat corn twice a week because I know they will floss then!
I tell them that plaque is soft like mashed potatoes and you only need as much pressure when you brush as it would take to scrape them out of the pot, but if the plaque sits there too long, it’s like dried mud caught in the tread of tennis shoes. Also when explaining floss, I tell them to use an action like when you are drying your back with a towel after a shower.
From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. October 2021;19(10):11.