3 Ways Dentists can Optimize Postoperative Care

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Our love for sweet desserts and late night hunger binges is an attribute of the first world lifestyle. Prolonged poor oral hygiene and unhealthy snacking habits often take a toll on our teeth. Did you know that carbonated cold beverages contain acids that literally erode our teeth? Sugary drinks cause tooth decay and accumulation of cavities in your mouth. Your teeth are basically exposed bones that protrude outside of your body.
Gulping down soft drinks that contain phosphoric acid, citric acid and tartaric acid erode away our teeth over time, starting from the outer most layer of teeth, the enamel. Fortunately, we have dentists, the unsung heroes of our time. They can save us from losing our teeth when you’d have thought there is no hope left.
Surgical dental intervention is the ultimate safety net for our consumer driven society. A dentist can help you save your teeth but only you can prevent oral diseases from occurring. Even after oral surgeries, success is partially dependent on the post operative care on the patient’s part. Here are some tips for dentists to execute post operative patient care just the right way.

Give reasons
Patients especially the young ones don’t like being told they’re supposed to brush twice a day, floss regularly, or to stay away from sweets, which makes it very important to voice out all the ‘whys’ behind the instructions. When a smoker is told exactly why they shouldn’t smoke post oral surgery for a prescribed length of time, it might not fully convey the importance of the instruction, unless you make it clear that smoking causes loss of the clot needed for healing. The more you prolong the healing process, the more pain they’d have to endure. This will help patients connect the dots and follow instructions better.

Post operative care instructions might actually reduce pain
It has been found that providing patients with an adequate understanding of postoperative preparatory information can help the patient set their expectations realistically, and consequently reduce their overall pain experience. Tell the patients the degree of pain they might experience, how long it would last, and how they can counter it. These instructions reinforce the patient’s belief that the pain is normal and helps the patient prepare for it. Nice way to alleviate pain, we’d say.

A hardcopy printout won’t suffice
Giving away written instructions equips the patient with the entire dos and don’ts of postoperative care that they can refer to from time to time. A written set of instructions lead to greater compliance on the patient’s part because, sometimes, verbal instruction just isn’t enough. Factors such as language barriers, age and anxiety can influence the patient’s ability to retain the information you have provided them verbally. However, the list of good post operative practices that you hand out to the patients might accidentally end up in the washing machine with the clothes or might get misplaced too. It’s always a good practice to go beyond the print out and email the postoperative care instructions to the patients. This way, they won’t lose it. In fact, 64% of Americans are attached to their smartphones. As a result, fewer interruptions and lesser patient dissatisfaction would occur.

Cover picture by MilanMarkovic78yayimages.com

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