The Plaque Stops Here!

How goes your fight as an `educator?` Have you thrown in the towel, or are you still persisting in getting each and every patient to floss per your instructions. This month`s survey on patient education reflects our curiosity about how the teacher grades herself.

How goes your fight as an `educator?` Have you thrown in the towel, or are you still persisting in getting each and every patient to floss per your instructions. This month`s survey on patient education reflects our curiosity about how the teacher grades herself.

1 - Generally, what percentage of your patients each day receive personalized oral hygiene instructions from you?

(1) Zero percent

(2) Less than 10 percent

(3) 25 percent (one patient out of four)

(4) 50 percent (half)

(5) 75 percent (three patients out of four)

(6) 100 percent, or close to it

2 - Generally, which is your favorite age group in terms of teaching a patient about oral hygiene care?

(1) Children

(2) Teenagers

(3) Adults in their 20s and 30s

(4) Adults older than 40

(5) Senior citizens

3 - Generally speaking, which is your least favorite age group in terms of teaching a patient about oral hygiene care?

(1) Children

(2) Teenagers

(3) Adults in their 20s and 30s

(4) Adults older than 40

(5) Senior citizens

4 - Do you provide oral hygiene instructions before, during, or after scaling and polishing?

(1) Before

(2) After

(3) During

5 - Based on your observations during recall appointments, estimate what percentage of your patients adhere to your instructions regarding oral hygiene care from the previous appointment?

(1) Zero percent

(2) Less than 10 percent

(3) 25 percent

(4) 50 percent

(5) 75 percent

(6) 100 percent, or close to it

6 - What do you do when you encounter resistance to your suggestions?

(1) I quickly evaluate the resistance and determine a better way to motivate the patient.

(2) I restructure or restate my instructions to patients with the assumption that my original statement may have been unclear or confusing.

(3) The dental practice that employs me discourages routine oral hygiene instruction.

7 - With recall patients whom you`ve treated for a number of years, do you ever decide to omit flossing instructions?

(1) I will persist with my lectures for however long it takes them to start flossing regularly.

(2) After five or six appointments, you know that they`re not going to floss, so it`s pointless to bring it up.

(3) After a while, I may stop lecturing but I will remind or admonish with a brief declaration (one or two sentences) that they need to start flossing.

8 - How do you personally feel about patients who won`t floss after years of instruction from you?

(1) I feel like I`m always nagging, berating, or belittling them.

(2) I feel discouraged about my abilities to motivate and teach people.

(3) I`m just the messenger. If people don`t want to listen to what`s good for their health, I can`t allow myself to be personally affected by their indifference.

(4) I try to teach myself about "patient psychology" - whether it be seminars, books, or other resources - so that I am continually developing and experimenting with patients in order to better motivate them.

9 - Most patients state they lack the manual dexterity to floss, don`t have the time to do it, or they just forget. Can you recall the most unique excuse you`ve heard for not flossing? What was it?

10 - Do you teach brushing in the mouth with a toothbrush or on a model?

(1) Brushing in mouth

(2) Model

11 - When you think back to patients who have really turned their oral health around, what would you say was the primary reason for the change?

(1) Something I said

(2) Something the doctor said

(3) Fear of deteriorating oral health

(4) Vanity

(5) Protection of their dental investment

12 - What tools do you routinely use as part of patient education? (Check all that apply.)

(01) Mirrors

(02) Intraoral cameras/computer imaging

(03) X-rays

(04) Camera photography

(05) Educational videos

(06) Educational software/CD-ROM programs

(07) Educational reading materials specifically designed for patients

(08) Published clinical studies

(09) Printed materials that you or your office designed

(10) Printed educational materials supplied by manufacturers

(11) None of the above

13 - Which tool is most successful in motivating patients? (Choose only one answer.)

(01) Mirrors

(02) Intraoral cameras/computer imaging

(03) X-rays

(04) Camera photography

(05) Educational videos

(06) Educational software/CD-ROM programs

(07) Educational reading materials specifically designed for patients

(08) Published clinical studies

(09) Printed materials that you or your office designed

(10) Printed educational materials supplied by manufacturers

(11) None of the above

14 - Besides routine oral hygiene instructions, which areas do you also routinely provide information on?

(1) Tongue cleaning

(2) Athletic mouthguards

(3) Snoring

(4) Halitosis

(5) Smoking cessation

(6) oNutrition

15 - Does your office stock and sell oral hygiene products? If so, which ones?

(1) Retail home-care products

(2) Powered toothbrushes

(3) Specialty toothpastes or manual toothbrushes

(4) Fluoride

(5) Mouthrinses

(6) Interdental aids

(7) We dispense products or samples, but we do not sell directly to patients.

(8) We do not dispense or sell products or samples.

16 - What percentage of your patients inquire about the usefulness of a home care product during their appointments? The product referred to may be a toothbrush, toothpaste, rinse, or interdental aid.

(1) Zero percent

(2) Less than 10 percent

(3) 25 percent

(4) 50 percent

(5) 75 percent

(6) 100 percent, or close to it

17 - What percentage of your patients do you estimate inquire about in-office bleaching services?

(1) Zero percent

(2) Less than 10 percent

(3) 25 percent

(4) 50 percent

(5) 75 percent

(6) 100 percent, or close to it

18 - What percentage of your patients do you estimate inquire about at-home tooth-whitening products, including the current generation of "extra whitening" toothpastes?

(1) Zero percent

(2) Less than 10 percent

(3) 25 percent

(4) 50 percent

(5) 75 percent

(6) 100 percent, or close to it

19 Do you instruct new patients about infection control policies implemented by your office?

(1) Yes

(2) No

(3) Only if they ask

20 - What is the most unusual question a patient has asked you during the instructional part of the appointment?

21 - What is your best suggestion for motivating patients?

Surveys can be returned to RDH magazine by:

Mail:

RDH,

P.O. Box 3306,

Tulsa,

OK 74101

FAX (918) 831-9804

E-mail:markh@pennwell.com

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