Dental patients often do not understand how dental diseases work, or the consequences of not correcting them as soon as possible. Diseases such as periodontal disease or cavities remain silent as they fester, only becoming painful and noticeable in the later stages. By the time that this happens, they are far more costly to treat. Unfortunately, many believe that diseases without painful or obvious symptoms are not serious enough to require immediate attention. They might also assume that their overall health remains unaffected by dental diseases: this too is false, and a dangerous assumption. Dental health is very connected to overall health — and leaving periodontal disease or cavities untreated can worsen the other health conditions that they may suffer from.


Dr. Jen Unwin, a clinical psychologist, discovered that the art of practicing medicine can be fine-tuned by using psychological strategies when educating patients about their health. Being a great clinician is not enough — without the ability to properly connect with your patient, your recommendations might remain unheard. Patients should be involved in the decision-making when it comes to treatment, and educated about the consequences of not following through, but not in a way that makes them feel ordered around. 


The most effective way to do this is to use a special formula to ensure that they understand the severity of their condition. Emphasis must be placed onto what happens when a change is not made — patients who do not understand the consequences will not feel motivated to do anything differently, or pay for procedures. However, once properly educated, they themselves will be eager to seek treatment — without needing to be heavily convinced by you and your team-members.


The secret formula to connect effectively with patients: problem + consequences x how it applies to the patient = solution (treatment)


Patients don’t want “treatment”. They want solutions to the problems that they face. Employing proper presentation of their conditions and communicating the consequences effectively will lead to patients saying “YES”, and feeling happy with the results that your clinic has brought them.


An infographic covering the connections between dental and overall health.


This section of the course will look in-depth at the connections between dental health and overall health, as well as the consequences of not completing recommended dental treatment. Understanding the value of dental health will help you to understand just how crucial you are to the rest of the team when it comes to helping patients make the best choice for their health. You will have the tools and comprehension to effectively handle a patient’s objection or misunderstanding.