How to help your patients visualize treatment
I tend to have most conversations with patients chairside. Sometimes we need to gather more information and present it at another appointment. Each patient is unique and may respond to different elements of a presentation. I have found that a visual presentation is more effective than showing models of teeth.
I find that photos are a great opportunity to show and discuss the conditions of the patient’s mouth. In many cases, the patient can relate to the photos better than a verbal description.
A recent presentation involved an engineer with vertical wear patterns. He could feel a groove forming on the lingual side of his upper front four teeth. We have talked about this with him in the past but now he had a few questions. As we discussed the wear, he mentioned how he was concerned about the amount of tooth structure that was left of his front teeth. We took study models, bite records, photos and prepared a formal presentation to show him some treatment options. My focus for the presentation was related to his concerns.
I wanted to show him a cross section of his front teeth to emphasize the amount of tooth loss that occurred. But what were my options? Cut a tooth out of the model and hold it up for him to see? Use a drawing to describe what was going on? I used technology to show him his teeth and bite. I did a computerized scan (digital impression) of his upper and lower models and used a buccal bite to show an exact duplicate of how his teeth come together.
I made a cross section of his upper and lower teeth occluding. I then virtually created a restoration on his teeth to demonstrate what would be required to restore his teeth.
I incorporated these images into his PowerPoint presentation. As the slides came up during the presentation, he commented how that’s what he was picturing in his mind but he had no idea it was this bad. The visual effect was more powerful than a description alone of his condition.
Mark Gray DDS [ www.markgraydds.com ]