When I begin the process of speaking with patients about their current dental conditions, I often get responses like, “It never bothers me, “or” I never noticed that,“ and the list goes on.

Sometimes we can take for granted or overlook things that are present in our everyday lives. I began to ask my patients a simple question when they're struggling with accepting our dental findings: Do you feel the shirt on your back?

This usually leads to a short pause followed by a resounding, “Yes, of course.”

At that point, it allows me to begin a conversation about how things as simple as our shirts sitting on our backs can be ignored unless they create a problem or are uncomfortable. I find after I point this out that most patients begin to understand and realize that just like their shirts, they may have conditions present that they have grown accustomed to, but are not necessarily “normal.”

So, when a patient is having difficulty noticing what seems obvious to you, change things up and ask them if they feel the shirt on their back. It might just help you and your patient come to an understanding about the best treatment for them.

Jeff Lineberry DDS, Visiting Faculty, Spear Education. [ www.jefflineberrydds.com ]


Commenter's Profile Image Mike Weisbrod
September 2nd, 2012
That's a great tip for realizing what is there but goes unnoticed.