Last week I saw my friend Brett Kessler give a lecture. He’s a dentist in Denver, Colorado and among other things, he’s an expert on the treatment of patients who suffer from “meth mouth” due to their use of methamphetamine.
At one point in his lecture he mentions that bringing this person back to a healthy dental condition is a shared responsibility of the dentist and patient.
The dentist is responsible to understand the patient’s dental health, to diagnose dental problems and to perform excellent dentistry. The patient is responsible to take care of their mouth, to let the dental office know if they’re having problems and to come back for recalls so the dentist and dental team can see how they’re doing.
I thought to myself, “these rules aren’t just for those with meth mouth! This goes for every healthy dentist/patient relationship.”
Brett went on to say, “I won’t take responsibility for a patient’s dental work or dental health who isn’t taking care of their mouth.”
All I can say is..he’s got a point.
Many of my patients are only in my office a couple times in a year. We’re cleaning most patients’ teeth and getting a look 2 days out of 365. If you’re having some work done, it might be a few more than that. But what about those other 360+ days out of the year?
I guess I could come to your house a few times a day to brush and floss for you, but honestly, I think you’d get sick of seeing me. Also, you really can’t afford me. So instead of having me be your personal dental preventive steward, I’d refer you to some posts that I’ve written on taking care of your mouth.
Come see us a few times per year. We’ll give you a new toothbrush and some floss. We’ll show you how use them. You can count on us to be your biggest dental cheerleaders!
But you’ve got to do your part.
Just ask Dr. Kessler!
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