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The Value Of A Comprehensive Dental Exam

by Lee Ann Brady, on 8/25/16 3:12 PM


Perform a comprehensive dental exam for every patient in your office. You could be missing out on opportunities where the patient doesn’t even realize the potential for their dental care.

The Unexpected Value to Engaging Patients

Recently, my daughter Sarah (21 years old) was in the office for an ortho appointment. I had told her about the benefits of adding composites to her cuspids, but I also mentioned to her the aesthetic change she could make by having crown lengthening for altered eruption.

The next day, though she seemed hesitant to have the surgical procedure, she asked me why I had never mentioned the altered eruption before.

This experience reminded me of why a comprehensive dental exam is so important. Sarah had never had one in her adult life, and because of this I never thought to bring up what to me is a simple aesthetic change in her smile.

The average Joe doesn’t look at teeth the way a dentist does. They see a white, straight smile and they assume that is the end goal. They may not realize the opportunities to improve the attractiveness and health of their teeth.

People like the idea of a perfect smile, and if you tell them what a dentist (the expert) would look at as perfect/healthy, this will greatly influence their decision.

Invite patients to have a comprehensive exam. My process has grown over time as I learned new techniques in courses and through trial and error. Effectiveness, in my experience, comes from a place of communication with the patient.

Meeting a new patient begins with a conversation to get to know them better and what they are looking for. I speak to them about their health and what I should know about it (generally and specific to dentistry). Then I explain the four areas of the exam: esthetics, function, structure, and biology.

While I explain these four areas, I go into more detail and link their goals with the information we’ll learn. Always ask permission in the process of persuading them to find value in dental treatments. This goes a long way to ensure they feel the dentistry is their choice.


CMS Director of Education Dr. Lee Ann Brady lives in Phoenix, Arizona and owns Desert Sun Smiles Dental Care, a private restorative practice in Glendale, Arizona. Outside of her private practice, Dr. Brady teaches, presents at meetings internationally, and writes a clinical dental education blog on her website at www.leeannbrady.com.

To learn more about Clinical Mastery’s approach to improving the quality and quantity of restorative and cosmetic dental cases, go to our website at www.clinicalmastery.com.

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