When dental treatment hinges on patient acceptance, dentist-to-patient communication is central in the clinical process. Everyone communicates differently, and the way you verbally explain a treatment plan may not be the way your patient understands it. While some clinicians are naturally more skilled at oral presentation, there are patient factors beyond your control, such as their level of oral health literacy and willingness to accept the information presented that may negatively impact the consultation.
In its most basic form, patient communication is critical to achieving informed consent and reducing the risk of liability. In better form, patient communication improves patient understanding of their treatment options and can possibly reduce anxiety, which may lead to better outcomes.
How do you reach a better form of patient communication? It starts by your willingness to find common ground with the patient. That means meeting patients where they are in their oral literacy and communicating at an appropriate level. Technology can evolve the doctor-patient communication to a higher level.
Treatment Centers: The Hub of Patient Communication
Consider the digital dashboard in your modern vehicle. It’s not only the focal point of the interior but acts as the central intelligence hub. Features like GPS navigation, back-up camera, and Bluetooth are integrated seamlessly. Now consider the dental treatment center in your practice. Together, the dental chair and delivery unit are not only the focal point of the room, but serve as the central intelligence hub of the operatory. This is where digital tools are integrated, bringing patient education and treatment together for one seamless experience.
If you’re not yet leveraging technology in the central hub of your practice, you may be missing an important opportunity for patient communication. Moreover, you may be missing out on revenue to expand treatment options and keep more patients in-house.
Any practice that’s considering upgrading their dental chair to a true treatment center must consider the latest technology integrations. Dentsply Sirona’s Treatment Centers, Intego and Teneo, are excellent solutions. Both units prioritize patient communication and connectivity for 21st century needs. Using the EasyTouch touch screen on the unit, staff members can control the Sidexis software to display intraoral images, x-rays, and cone beam images. They can also open Windows Media Player to play short patient education videos, or share a PowerPoint presentation via the 22-inch HD monitor. The optional SiroCam AF or AF+ intraoral camera can be integrated to capture detailed digital images that can be shown and explained to patients.
Reviews for both Intego and Teneo have been positive, and dentists have shared that the patient communication features have provided tangible ROI through case acceptance.
“From the moment the patient sits in the chair, they get a very different experience compared to some other dental practices. We use technology from that moment on,” said Dr. Evyenia Kollia of Seattle. “Our philosophy is to educate patients about their oral health. Having the cameras incorporated in Treatment Centers allows us to do it so efficiently — not forced — and very genuinely. The patients can see the photos during the treatment, and the patients see the evidence. We always say ‘photos are worth 1,000 words.’ The evidence is there, the facts are presented, and the patients get it.”
“Getting it” is crucial for case acceptance. That’s why patient communication can be considered the gateway to treatment.
“I never really thought that a treatment center could make or break the patient experience, but Teneo definitely does,” Ryan O'Neill, DMD, wrote in a peer-to-peer review of the unit. “Patients love it. I especially enjoy their reaction when they first see it. They call it ‘space-age’ and ‘high-tech.’…Patient education is a big part of the way I practice, and the Teneo story is pretty powerful. It reduces chair time for the patient with a streamlined workflow.”
From case acceptance to treatment execution, Dentsply Sirona Treatment Centers put everything you need right within reach. This not only helps your staff, but adds to overall patient understanding of what’s to happen during the procedure. This could have an anxiety-reducing effect.
“The nice thing about the Treatment Centers is that it gets patients involved in their treatment,” said Dr. David Juliani of Rochester Hills, MI. “Everything we need is visible to them, so if we need to explain a procedure or show them something, whether it’s a radiograph or clinical photo, it’s all available to them, which gets them very involved in their treatment. With these Treatment Centers, it lets them feel like they’re a part of the decision-making process, and they can actually understand what’s about to happen and how we’re going to go through a procedure for them.
Learn more about Teneo and Intego Treatment Centers and their respective features on Dentsply Sirona’s website.