Educating your patients about dental products

Shelves and shelves full of toothpastes, mouth rinses, teeth whiteners and more — which one to buy? In addition to having to choose from a multitude of items, patients may also have questions about the chemicals that make up these products. Dental professionals field questions about toothpaste and whiteners with ingredients such as fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), triclosan, and hydrogen peroxide and/or carbamide peroxide. Some patients favor products free of these elements and move toward what are perceived as better, natural products. Dental professionals should know about research regarding chemicals in dental products that patients are likely to encounter.

Building confidence with your patients

In December 2016, a Wisconsin Veterans Affairs medical center made national headlines when nearly 600 patients were exposed to HIV and hepatitis B and C after a dentist reused his own dental instruments instead of performing procedures with hospital-sterilized, disposable tools. This past April saw the publication of “Lion Hearted,” an account of Cecil the lion’s last hours before he was shot and killed by Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist who became an overnight internet pariah following his ill-fated safari in July 2015. These are just two news stories, but each one can impact how the public views our profession and how much our patients trust us.

A virtual teaching tool for daily oral care


“What should I be using at home?” It’s a common question that follows treatment plans, and patients may not always remember specific products when they’re staring down dozens of options in the dental aisle. You can help make their decisions easier by giving them a go-to they can trust.
The ADA Seal of Acceptance has created a 360° video experience for you to use as a hands-on teaching tool to educate patients about the Seal and how these proven products can be used to support the oral health recommendations you’ve made.

5 questions to ask before recommending products for your patients

Did you know the average patient spends 30 hours a year cleaning their teeth? Only a few of those hours are spent in the dental chair. The rest of the time, patients are at home on their own. As you know, every patient is unique, so one treatment plan won’t fit all mouths. Once you and your patient have agreed on the best next steps, empower them to take care of their oral health with the right dental tools to make good home care happen.

Discussing treatment plans with patients

The radiographs have been taken, probing depths measured and it is time to present the plan to your patient. Behind the scenes, you have studied the patient’s case and know the ideal treatment. You’ve gotten faculty input and you are ready to discuss options with the patient. After presenting your ideas, the patient disagrees with your proposed plan and seems noticeably aggravated. How do you communicate effectively to help the patient understand the risks and benefits of treatment?

Treating your first patient

Your first experience interacting with a patient face-to-face can be a little intimidating. It may be the first time you feel like a real dentist, even though you’re still in the middle of your studies. You’ll always remember that first patient. As your clinical knowledge grows, you may even think back to how that first visit could have gone smoother. Despite all the pre-clinical training we receive, interacting with real patients is different than sitting in a lecture with other students. Here are five tips to make the first experience a positive one.

What I learned from my first dental emergency

A hospital emergency bay area with a huge red signageThe start of my third year of dental school also marked the start of our transition into clinic. My first rotation was in Emergency Care and despite the fact that I had no previous experience seeing patients up until that point, I felt confident. Assisting and observing my classmates in preparation for my rotation only confirmed this self-assurance. All I had to do was take the patient’s medical history and perhaps arrange for an oral surgery consult. It all seemed simple enough.

Seeing your first patient, especially as an emergency case, is an exciting milestone that can quickly turn into an emotional and stressful experience.