Dr. Pulec graduated from the University of Toronto in 1985.
He is the Past President of OSCO.
Fellow and Diplomat in the ICOI.
He has been a proponent of patient education and Implant dentistry throughout his 25 years in dentistry.
We have high speed drills we have lasers ,we can place dental implants ,grow bone as well as provide patients with amazing cosmetic dentistry, but most dentists are still using sign language to educate their patients on complex treatments.
Patients are becoming much more interested in the treatment that we the dentists are performing. They want to know what the procedures are and what their options are.
They want to know about new and cosmetic elective procedures. Patient education software has many benefits which many dentists are beginning to realize.
1) Patient Education Protects The Dentist From Law Suits.
Some patients initially have full confidence in their dentist and say go ahead and do whatever you think is needed. That may seem to be adequate but the patient still deserves and needs to be shown a proper explanation of the procedure the consequences of the treatment, non treatment and the options they have in their particular situation. If they are not told the options and the consequences they may return later and launch a complaint against the dentist when they experience problems.
There are still many dentists that shy away from dental implant treatment. They may see a missing tooth and present only the Bridge option that involves cutting down sometimes perfectly healthy teeth and creating a situation where they could be liable since there exists a more predictable alternative that does not involve the cutting down of perfect teeth. The teeth that were prepared for a bridge may require root canal treatment which the patient may get upset about. Then there is the possibility that the root canal treatment is unsuccessful due to accessory canals and now the patient may loose one or two teeth. Now the patient is missing three teeth and may come across information that she could have had an implant to replace that missing tooth without the need of loosing two other teeth.
All of a sudden the patient does not remember that they said to their dentist go ahead and do whatever you think is needed. They may complain that they were never told of the options and would never have done this treatment if they knew about the implant. Patients are becoming much more litigious and may launch a claim against the dentist. If the dentist does not have anything in their records to show that they showed them the options that were available and that the patient understood they will most likely not be able to defend themselves in this case.
There are various Patient Education Software available for the general dentist such as Medvisor, CASEY, Orasphere, CONSULT-PRO. Medvisor allows the dentist to draw on the education presentations and then print the notes. CASEY has about 270 presentations including audio. But only CONSULT-PRO has over 800 animations, slide presentations and clinical examples available in 12 different languages that can go over specific treatment options in general dentistry as well as the treatments offered by specialists. www.consult-pro.com
Bridge Treatment Consequences
Still from animation movie (CONSULT-PRO) shows that we need to cut the two adjacent teeth in order to replace the one missing tooth. Additional consequences include atrophy in the edentulous area, cavities , root canal problems (as a result of the tooth preparation and Bridge insertion) as well as the possibility of the tooth breaking and its subsequent removal.
2) Patient Education Can Make A Dental Practice Grow Exponentially.
With education well presented the patient understands the benefits of treatment. They can then see the value of the treatment and are ready to go ahead and spend the type of money that many dentists believe patients will not spend for dental treatment.
The benefits of implants for example include the preservation of Alveolar bone. With teeth gone there is no stimulation of the bone and the bone will atrophy. With implants the bone will continue to be stimulated with every bite and the bone will be prevented from atrophy.
CONSULT-PRO has more examples of the consequences of tooth loss than any other education software including CASEY. Most systems have none.
Let's look at the example of two teeth lost in the posterior lower area.
We can show them with vivid animations what the consequences of not going ahead with treatment may be. There will be over eruption, periodontal problems, atrophy and the possibility of the loss of the opposing teeth.
This series shows how the loss of the posterior lower teeth can lead to the loss of the opposing upper teeth due to over eruption atrophy and periodontal problems.
The patient is motivated to go ahead with treatment, they understand that there is some urgency and they see the value of the treatment.
They also are provided with different options that may within their budget.
A simple removable denture can initially solve the missing tooth issue. But we need to show the patient the options and what the advantages of the different options are.
In the aforementioned example we can suggest the removable partial denture but we can show the patient that the atrophy will continue and they will need to do additional relines to the denture to keep the fit in addition to the fact that the denture may put undue pressure to the teeth it holds onto and may cause damage to them.
When there are many missing teeth there are facial trophy consequences as well.
The facial atrophies for example it contains 3 views of three different atrophy situations in both male and female. That's 18 animations just for facial atrophy! There are single tooth atrophies and arch areas atrophies and all the different techniques available to correct the situation.
This shows a side profile of a patient with all the top missing and atrophy facial consequences.
This shows a patient in a 3/4 view with both top and bottom teeth missing and atrophy facial consequences.
This shows a patient in a frontal view with the bottom teeth missing and atrophy facial consequences.
When a patient sees what the consequences of missing teeth can do to their facial profile they will see the value of preserving the teeth they have and investing in major treatment that may be expensive to prevent these consequences.
3) Patient Education Can Save Chairtime.
The patient can be educated by one of the auxiliary staff and therefore give the dentist more time to perform the procedures instead of just talking about them. This requires the staff to be knowledgeable. With most education software systems the user can put the education modules in a certain order for consistency by both the dentist and staff. This also saves lots of time searching the libraries for the right movies.
4) Patient Education Can Get The Dentist Out Of Trouble
CONSULT-PRO if the only system that has education that deals with treatment complications. For example if a dentist is taking out an upper wisdom tooth and does not realize that the sinus floor is near the roots they could have the unfortunate complication of dislodging a root tip into the sinus . This will obviously create a panic with the patient and the dentist. The patient will learn that their dentist pushed a root tip into their sinus and will surely be upset. The dentist will not know what to do and may make the patient feel even more nervous. However Consult-Pro has the animation on how to solve this complication of retrieving a root tip from the sinus as well as retrieving the entire tooth. (Which although rare may happen). The patient is shown the animation of the procedure on how this complication will be handled . They will feel much better once they see that there is an animation in a computer education program on how to deal with this complication. It is implied that this must be a complication that happens often enough that an animation has been made to explain it to patients.
In this situation the sinus is accessed by making a window on the side of it. The suction tip is used to suction out the root tip and the flap is replaced to allow for healing.
5) Patient Education Can Confirm The Dentist's Explanation Of Complications.
Let look at some thing very simple. Every dentist has had a patient complain of a sensitive tooth after a simple filling restoration at one point or another. The dentist may tell the patient that this is normal and that the pain will most likely go away with time. The patient may become skeptical and may think that the dentist did not do a good job and is now just making up excuses.
But if the dentist can show them an animation that demonstrates that this is a common complication in regards to fillings , they are more apt to accept the explanation . Once again if there is an animation to explain the situation this must be routine and not unusual . Also if the education shows them how the tooth will become less sensitive they will appreciate the explanation and have a higher opinion of the dentist and the office .
A large cavity Caries removed Restoration Complete
The Restoration is close to the pulp so it may cause the pulp to be sensitive
In this situation if the tooth is healthy and this is diagnosed as reversible
In this situation if the tooth is healthy and this is diagnosed as reversible pulpitis.
The pulp will increase the size of the dentinal tubules and move away from the restoration . In this way the restoration is further away from the pulp and the tooth should get better.
Of course there need to be animations that show that this may not happen and there could be irreversible pulpitis and root canal treatment may be necessary.
6) Patient Education Builds Patient Confidence.
With CONSULT-PRO and some of the other education programs the user can import their own images of the best cosmetic cases they have done and impress the patient with their work . They look more professional all organized in categories along with top graphics instead of scrambling with photo albums and patient's charts. The user can even place testimonials from patients into the program.
7) Patient Education Can Provide The "WOW" Factor.
With large LCD screen cost going to reasonable levels having a 30 inch computer screen in the operatory educating the patient certainly will impress the patients and put the practice on a higher level.
In conclusion, patient education is a must in today's modern operatory and is becoming mainstream. CONSULT-PRO has been designed by a dentist in consultation with many dental specialists so that it not only educates patients but becomes an invaluable motivational tool that will make any dental practice much more successful. CONSULT-PRO www.consult-pro.com by far has the most number of education presentations (premium version) as well as the most amazing graphics that continue to wow patients in over 37 countries.