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Dental Consultants Best Patient Education Tip


Show patients a worn restoration or a crown with exposed margins or pockets with active disease. 

Summary of  feedback from several dentists who have found the routine use of I/O cameras increases acceptance and keeps patients on re-care:

1. Have an I/O in every operatory, connected and ready to go otherwise the I/O won’t get used as frequently and time is wasted connecting.

2. Take big screen shots. There isn't anything more motivating than a pre-treatment photo of a calculus bridge on the lower anteriors and the post photo showing them clean. Show lingual on the lower incisors. Show the patient where the pink healthy papilla should be and how it was replaced with calculus and tell them what it leads to. Tell them, “That is why you never want to miss your preventive appointment”. Assure them you are going to leave their teeth clean as a whistle. Many patients will ask what they can do to prevent it from happening again. Let them know your expert hygienist will explain. Also consider taking photos of the arch for alignment and crowding to recommend ortho or Invisalign. 

3. If the patient is clean, compliment them. Let them know it’s rare to have such clean teeth. Some patients may still point to a tiny spec of calculus on the screen and say they can still do better! Tell the patient you can always tell which patients never miss their preventive appointments.

4. Consider using disclosing tablets (purple or pink chew tablet that stain all the plaque). It’s a great way to educate adults and children. Check to ensure children aren't allergic to dyes.

5. When you recommend a crown(s) use I/O to show craze lines, cracks, etc.

6. Many dentists take pictures of every single pathology on every single patient, no matter how minor. Many patients, when shown what’s going on, will be quick to go for the treatment.

7. Take multiple photos when prepping for a crown. Doing so decreases insurance denials. Do the same for calculus for scaling/SRP to avoid denials

8. Use sleeves. There should not be a noticeable difference in the pictures if you make sure to face the camera in the correct direction.


Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a seminarist in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at .

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