Patient Education

Dentists constantly educate patients on how to maintain their oral health and prevent decay and gum disease as an ongoing part of their consultation. While some patients rely on the dentist for information on oral health issues, others use the internet to list out potential oral health problems.

With patients today having varying degrees of knowledge and levels of motivation about how to maintain oral health, do dentists working in a busy practice have the time for patient education? If so, what is the focus on? Is there more emphasis on pregnant women and children or do we prioritise patient education differently?

Is patient education a priority amongst dentist in India?

Let’s discuss:

Professor Raman Bedi raman.bedi@kcl.ac.uk

The following brief note has been agreed by a global expert group and is taken from the website Alliance for Cavity Free Future.

Patient Education

Description:

The World Health Organization defines patient education as “any combination of learning experiences designed to help individuals improve their health, by increasing their knowledge or influencing their attitudes.” This combination of learning experiences consists primarily of providing verbal and written material to the patient to improve their motivation to maintain oral health and prevent complications from dental treatment received. Patient education offers an understanding of good oral health, the disease process and instruction about behaviors and hygiene activities to assist the patient. Providing patient education can result in improved long term oral health which can lead to better outcomes with the use of preventive dentistry and dental services. Patients who have a strong understanding of their disease process are much more likely to control their disease and not have repeated setbacks.

Motivational interviewing (MI), a technique developed by clinical psychologists Drs. William R. Miller and Steven Rollnick, is defined as a “directive, client-centred counselling style for eliciting behaviour change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence.” Thus it is more focused and goal-directed than simply imparting health information.

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