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?

Does a “chief complaint” change patient care?

Dentist and Patient Examining X-rayA new class is settling into clinic and treatment planning seems to be happening in every other chair. An intake interview is happening next to me and I hear, “Um… What’s your chief complaint?” I cringe. I see the patient’s head tilt slightly. His brows furrow revealing confusion. I take a guess at what he’s thinking, “What in the world is this kid asking me?!”

How to communicate with your patient: part II (video series)

Patient communication part IIAs dental students, our experiences involving patient communication are rather limited. While we have the ability to practice our craft on a manikin, we can never fully prepare ourselves for the different scenarios where we may need to manage a patient in order to provide quality care. This three-part video series focuses on how to navigate difficult communication situations, so that hopefully you would be prepared when faced with a similar situation!

Now that you’ve learned how to manage an emotionally charged patient (see part I), it’s time to learn ways to communicate when a procedure might take longer than planned.

How to communicate with your patient: part I (video series)

patient communication videoAs dental students, our experiences involving patient communication are rather limited. While we have the ability to practice our craft on a manikin, we can never fully prepare ourselves for the different scenarios where we may need to manage a patient in order to provide quality care. This three-part video series focuses on how to navigate difficult communication situations, so that hopefully you would be prepared when faced with a similar situation!