Providing your patient visual access to their dental problems is so helpful in getting them to realize just what the problem is and the steps that need to be taken to correct it. Many problems arise slowly over a long period of time. In the absence of pain, many patients may not even realize that a problem exists in the first place. We need to walk a fine line between being perceived as over diagnosing and suggesting unnecessary treatment. This problem can many times be solved by showing the patient the problem so they can be a part of the diagnostic process.
Intra oral camera’s served this purpose for many years. The quality of the image was poor but the point was made. Once we realized the power of this tool it was obvious that this type of diagnosis helped us in many ways. Next came the digital camera. With proper training we are able to get superb intraoral photos. Showing them enlarged on a monitor or Ipad is a great way to get your point across and open up a discussion.
There is another way to approach this subject as well. It is one which is simple, in direct view of the patient and needed for the current treatment. I am referring to the virtual models. I will commonly extend my models to capture any broken teeth, open contacts or poorly adapted fillings. When the patient is watching me design, it is simple to show them these areas. Either on the working model or the counter and begin a discussion. It’s all about education. Showing a patient what their problem is and allowing them to understand it will leads to greater patient acceptance. Since you already have the model on the screen, Why not use it to its fullest? If a picture is worth a thousand words, a virtual model must be worth a lot more.
In this screen shot, this patient was advised to treat the problem on 19 at the same time as the treatment was rendered on 18. She refused until I pointed it out to her on the screen. We sent 18 to the mill and went ahead and prepped 19. Not so efficient but it got done. Use you CEREC to its fullest!
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