Finally, as general practitioners do more prosthodontic dentistry, there is an increased chance that the dentist will uncover challenging cases. A relationship with a prosthodontist can be beneficial for selecting an appropriate treatment plan, or as a resource when difficulties are encountered during treatment.
Every dental practice has patients that could benefit from refitting, from new construction, or from implant prosthodontics. These predominantly older patients have obstacles not found in other demographic groups. Yet few practitioners have a proactive stance to address those things that leave these individuals underserved.
Five strategies are offered to reduce barriers in general practices and overcome obstacles in treating the fully or partially edentulous elderly. The dental staff needs to see the dentist’s conscious commitment to the oral health of patients of any age. They should be willing and able to communicate the importance of regular recalls for all patients, the health benefits of replacing worn or defective dentures, and enhancements possible with implant prosthodontics.
Motivational interviewing skills, along with a unique satisfaction/condition scoring method, are designed to include the patient in decision making and encourage the older patients to seek treatment.
Finally, an association with a prosthodontist can be a valuable asset in expanding prosthodontic services among your existing dental patients.
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*Dr. Warpeha is a board certified prosthodontist in private practice in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a panel member of the Cleft Palate Clinics at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and Children’s Hospital/Minneapolis, and is a prosthodontic consultant to the Minnesota State Board of Dentistry. Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
**“Pitfalls in Full Mouth Implant Dentistry”, Parts One and Two, January-February, 2011, pages 27-32; March-April, 2011, pages 37-40.