We consider improving alignment as an aesthetic treatment that contributes heavily to the popularity of cosmetic dentistry. We get used to discussing these treatments with patients. Many want to change their smile and have a straighter, whiter and brighter smile. But have you ever considered better alignment as being a benefit for health?
It’s no secret that having aligner treatment is an expensive affair. Sometimes conversion after a consultation can be held back because of the cost. I have often had discussions with patients who are having to seriously consider whether they want to go ahead with treatment based on the fact they feel it is a lot to pay for appearance.
Discuss the health benefits
I always try and change the conversation to health. I want them to consider things in a different way, because if it was better for their health, this can sometimes sway them to make a decision in favour of going ahead. You see, with over-crowding and imbrication comes plaque retention. With plaque retention comes disease, be it caries or periodontal disease. Better alignment allows for easier access, easier plaque removal and less disease.
How do you initiate the discussion? The health conversation tends to be one way. It’s a lot more comfortable to bring up the conversation when it is not aimed at someone’s appearance.
Take a diabetes patient as an example. Diabetes increases risk of periodontitis and periodontitis can make diabetes harder to control. Excellent plaque control is essential to maintain a healthy periodontium. This is extremely difficult if there are plaque retention factors to contend with. When a client is diagnosed with diabetes, try to work with your colleagues to reduce the likelihood of biofilm accumulation.
One thing to look for is whether crowding is affecting their ability to maintain biofilm. If there is – then a conversation can be established to prevent this. So you can see that better alignment doesn’t always have to be for aesthetics, it is also a great tool for prevention too.
Another way is to have it on your medical history or social history questionnaire. A simple question like, ‘how do you feel about your smile?’ can get them thinking about it and you talking about it.
Educate your clients whilst they sit in the waiting area
A third option is to have waiting room TV to initiate the topic for you. As the patient sits and waits to be called in, they can see and read information about the treatments you offer via the waiting room TV. Envisage Dental TV has some great videos that induce your patient to think about what aligner treatments can do for them, including how better alignment can be good for their health. Let Envisage Dental TV do the hard work for you, so you don’t even have to start the conversation at all.