Improving the Dental Care Customer Experience

Everyone knows that the vast majority of patients do not like going to the dentist. In fact many people are afraid of the dentist and won’t even go when there is a problem. Therefore, it is important that dentists focus on the customer experience to create customer success and have patients keep coming back. Having positive outcomes for patients can lead them to refer their friends and family to the practice. Dentist should consider questions such as “are our customers happy?” and “do we provide quality care?”. Below are some ways to improve the customer experience for dentists that will lead to better outcomes for patients and for dentists: 1. Stay in Touch Even though you may have a dental patient, it is important to continue to cultivate that relationship. After they leave the dental office you may consider calling … Read more

Informed Consent in Dentistry: Can Change Impact Personal Injury Cases?

An excellent article appears in the Spring 2017 edition of the The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (vol. 45, pp. 77-94) written by Kevin I. Reid titled “Informed Consent in Dentistry.” The article discusses how informed consent is respecting the ethical right of an individual to make decisions about one’s body and only have actions undertaken on their body with authorization without undue influence. In order for informed consent to be considered valid in dentistry the following must occur: (1) the patient is competent and has the ability and capacity to understand and decide, (2) the dentist discloses material information, (3) the patient understands, (4) the patient is voluntarily entering the arrangement, and (5) the patient provides authorization to go ahead. Every patient however comes to a different degree of understanding to authorize treatment based on their prior dental experiences, education, motivation, attention, … Read more

Is it okay for dentists to not tell a patient everything wrong?

An interesting article titled “Is it unethical to not present a patient’s treatment plan in its entirety?” is written by Emily Ishkanian and appears in the June 2016 issue of JADA. The article discusses that a dentist gets a new patient in for only an examination, cleaning, and radiographs. However after the exam, the dentist determined that the patient has extensive treatment needs. The dentist is concerned that if they tell the patient everything wrong then the patient will be scared to return to the office. The patient went to the dentist for just a standard visit. It is likely they thought there was nothing wrong with their oral health. The dentist is concerned that the patient will suspect overtreatment which could lead them to decline the treatment plan or seek another opinion. The ADA code says that dentists need to be truthful and … Read more

What are the ethical issues of terminating a patient?

An interesting article titled “The ethical issues of saying good-bye to a patient” appears in the July 2016 issue of JADA and written by Gary Herman. The article addresses the ethical issues that result from terminating a relationship with a patient. There are certain reasons for terminating a patient. This includes discharging a patient who is difficult or noncompliant, a patient who notifies you that he or she is choosing to go elsewhere, and a patient who just seems to disappear. A dentist of course is always concerned with treating a patient well. If you terminate a patient the practice goes against this goal. An article on risk management lists failure to recognize problem patients and failure to dismiss those patients properly as some of the biggest mistakes dentists make. The article states “When patients make unreasonable demands, have impossible expectations, or prevent … Read more

Shared decision making in cases of conflicted evidence

An interesting article titled “When clinical evidence is conflicted, who decides how to proceed? An opportunity for shared decision making,” appears in the October 2015 issue of JADA (vol. 146 issue 10, pp. 713-714) and written by Arthur H. Friedlander and et al. The article discusses the concept of shared decision making “…particularly necessary in dentistry at this juncture, given recommendations but inconclusive data available to support abandoning the provision of prophylactic antibiotics to patients with total joint prostheses.” I have previously talked about shared medical decision making in the blog post The Well Informed Patient http://blog.teethremoval.com/the-well-informed-patient/. The article talks about how historically patients were expected to consent to the recommendations of their doctors without much discussion. However, since this is not enough to be legally and ethically correct shared decision making can be used which is a “…collaborative process encouraging patients … Read more