Transitioning to life with braces can be stressful. Between the new oral hygiene regimens and cosmetic changes, patients may often feel overwhelmed and apprehensive about the journey that lies ahead. Braces can make important improvements for patients’ oral health and aesthetic satisfaction, so it is important that we emphasize what an exciting time this can be and how to get your patients excited about getting braces.
If your patient is feeling stressed about getting braces put on, it is a good idea to remind him/her of why he/she decided to get braces in the first place. Tell your patient that this process will positively impact oral health for many years to come.
Aesthetics play a huge factor here, so showing before and after pictures of patients you or your colleagues have treated in the past is an excellent idea. While discussing successful recent cases, it is a very good time to revisit the patient’s ceph analysis to highlight with him/her the changes that will be visible over time.
If your patient is experiencing issues such as TMJ/jaw pain, teeth grinding or clenching, and gum disease and tooth decay, discuss how braces may positively impact these problems. The adjusting of misaligned teeth or an incorrect bite are adjustments that can affect overall health.
Encourage your patients to take pictures documenting their orthodontic journeys. Before and after pictures are great ways to increase motivation and to visually see progress happening. Emphasize to your patient that returning to the “before braces” photograph will highlight transformations and changes.
Consider having a photo wall in your office that features before and after pictures of patients. It helps patients remember why they are going through with their orthodontic treatment.
We all can use a little external motivation from time to time. Encourage your patient to write out how they will reward himself/herself for reaching certain treatment milestones. It can be helpful to give an example of what other patients have done in the past.
Rewards tied to specific dates are easy to remember and give a concrete visualization of the end goal. Suggest that the patient treat himself or herself after every time the band on the braces are changed or after every two months.
Rewards can be simple. Some specific examples include:
Listening to music can relax and uplift a patient. Encourage patients to create playlists with their favourite music. Music can aid relaxation and serve as a great distraction.
To help create an overall stress-free environment, consider using a sound system in your office. Music will help to create a relaxing atmosphere right from the time somebody walks through the door.
Knowing that a close friend or relative is nearby can ease anxiousness. Provide a nearby space for the patient’s guest to sit. Having braces put on is a big step in a person’s life, and it can be beneficial to know that a familiar face is nearby.
There are a lot of ways that devices can be customized, so make it a point to highlight what options are available. Coloured bands can be a fun way for your patients to express their personalities and to celebrate a holiday or event.
Many offices are now offering brackets that come in fun designs like footballs, flowers, and hearts. Personalized devices are sure to be popular with children, but are also great options to be able to offer to patients of all ages.
If you offer different types of braces within your practice, make sure your patients know their options. While metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and Invisalign may not be a fit for everybody, it is important to go over options. Adults may find the option of Invisalign or lingual braces to be much less daunting.
You and your team set the tone of how your patients will feel when receiving treatment in your office. Make sure to create an upbeat vibe. You want your patients to look forward to stopping in for an appointment, so it is important that they feel welcomed and supported throughout their orthodontic journeys.
Every interaction with a staff member your patient has while he/she is in your office is an important one. Place a large amount of emphasis on training staff on how they should be interacting with patients. You want your patients to view the office team as allies, not enemies!
No matter what age, a patient is never too old to be seeking orthodontic treatment. Celebrate the positive outcomes that can come from orthodontia for individuals of all ages.
There are many changes associated with getting braces, so make sure your patients know you are there to answer their questions. You deal with orthodontia all day, so it is easy to forget to address some of the most fundamental questions someone new to braces may have.
Do some research and keep a log of some of the issues you remember past patients asking. It will be helpful for individuals who are about to enter into the world of braces to have an FAQ handout. Here are some examples of questions you may want to include:
With all of the exciting advances happening in the world of orthodontia, there are many possible ways to get patients engaged and excited about getting braces!