The term “patient-centered care” is a term you’ll see a lot on the websites of local dentists, but what does it really mean? Patient-centered care:
Addresses the Patient as a Whole
When people hear the term holistic used, they might assume that the care they are receiving uses many alternative or untraditional care methods. However, holistically addressing a patient’s dental care needs means that their oral health is treated in a way that relates to the rest of their health conditions. Many individual medical needs can affect the health and function of the mouth. A holistic approach allows dentists to refocus their treatment to address the patient’s overall health and not just that of individual teeth. For instance, a patient with chronic bruxism (clenching and grinding of the teeth) may not just need a bite splint to address symptoms of wear. The cause of bruxism such as stress, underlying health conditions or sleeping habits should be considered during treatment.
Increases Communication Between the Patient and the Dentist
Every patient’s personal and dental care needs are different. Each person has various levels of anxiety, needs or concerns about their dental treatment. A dentist that practices patient-centered care with his or her patients will listen attentively to what their priorities and expectations are about the care that they receive.
Tailors Treatment on an Individual Level
Dental treatment isn’t the same for everyone, and having cookie cutter style treatments are not appropriate in all cases. Because communication between the patient and dentist is essential in patient-centered dental care, the treatment will be formulated based on that patient’s personal needs. As an example, patient “A” may want to have dental implants placed in an area of a missing tooth, while patient “B” chooses a temporary tooth replacement option until they can afford a full mouth makeover.
Every dental issue has a myriad of associated treatment options and possiblities. Patient-centerd care prioritizes a patient’s needs and concerns to determine an individualized treatment plan that best addresses their overal health goals and dental solutions.
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