When it comes to preventive dental care, one size does not fit all. The American Dental Association recommends that dentists and hygienists determine the frequency of care needed based on a patient’s risk factors and overall health history to create a plan of personalized dental care. Chronic conditions – including diabetes – can leave patients more prone to gum disease, which makes more frequent preventive dental care a necessity. Smokers and other tobacco users are another group of high-risk patients that benefits from frequent, personalized dental care.
Just the Facts
The first step in providing personalized dental care is to determine who your high-risk patients are. Use a detailed, thorough Patient History Form to get the information you need to provide the best personalized care. Choose a form that has space for a complete medical history along with a detailed dental health history. Once you have that on file, be sure to ask for updates any time patients come in – new heath issues, medications, and lifestyle changes can all contribute to changes in oral health.
Special Patients. Specialized Care.
Your diabetic patients may be at greater risk for periodontal disease. Make sure to add a “Diabetic” label to patients’ files so everyone treating them is aware of the condition. In addition to providing more frequent preventive dental care, give diabetic patients the tools they need to practice proper self care. Send them home with a complete portable Dental Kit so they can keep up with good oral health habits on the go. Be sure to place your business card in the slot so patients have your information available to call with any concerns or questions about their oral health between dental appointments.
Smoke and Mirrors
Patients who smoke or use other tobacco products are also at increased risk for periodontal disease, not to mention more serious conditions, including oral cancer. Encourage patients to quit smoking and offer educational materials that show the benefits of quitting, like “Before & After” Flip Guides.
If quitting isn’t in the cards, talk with these patients about your Whitening services. For many patients, the sense of vanity overrules the concern about health risks. Talk about the benefits of in-office and take-home teeth whitening, like Reflection Whitening Kits. Patients can begin to see whiter teeth in as little as three days. The hidden bonus? Patients will be more likely to make an appointment for future personalized dental care when they need refills of the whitening solution they can only get from you.
When shopping for dental supplies, be sure to stock up on everything you need to give your patients the personalized dental care that sets your practice apart and inspires patient loyalty.