Combating Misinformation in Oral Health

With the rapid proliferation of content continually created and posted in social media and the internet, there is an increased amount of oral health information readily available online. This makes it easy for patients to search an oral health topic, procedure or concern and get information. However, the information that the patients are reading might not be accurate, might not have a reputable source, and patients might become victims of misinformation.

Below are several strategies that oral health professionals can apply in order to try to combat the increased availability of such information and to ensure that patients are well informed rather than misinformed on oral health topics and issues.

Combating Misinformation in Oral Health

  1. Send regular oral health communications/newsletters to your patients

If you want to ensure your patients are reading the right information on oral health topics or issues, send your patients regular oral health newsletters. This could be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly on a Thursday or a Tuesday – whatever schedule works for your office. By sending your patients regular oral health communications you’re taking a proactive approach. It won’t leave your patients wondering or curious about various oral health topics or concerns as you’ve already provided them with information, addressing thoughts or questions they may have.

With many patients, it would be difficult to have to prepare a newsletter for each patient, and then send that newsletter one-by-one to each patient – you should have a system in place. A great dental software solution for this is ADSTRA Dental Software. ADSTRA contains a patient communication module that allows you to prepare various type of communications such as newsletters, and save them as templates, which you can then mass email to all of your patients.

  1. Educate patients on proposed dental treatments

Another way to try and combat increased availability of oral health information amongst your patients is to educate them on proposed treatments or procedures. Many times, when you propose a treatment/procedure to your patients, it might not be easy for them to understand the benefits, the value and the overall outcome of the treatment. With that patients tend to have a lot of questions but they might be reluctant to voice them. Ideally, the treatment presentation should preemptively cover all of your patients’ potential questions and provide them as much information as possible on the proposed treatment, and ultimately make sure they understand so they accept the treatment.

Verbally relaying information to your patients isn’t always enough – especially when it comes to dental treatments. That’s where a modern, high-quality dental software solution like ADSTRA comes in. ADSTRA provides oral health professionals many patient education tools such as cases and infographics where in addition to information you can also present your patients visuals (ex: before and after photos) which are instrumental in helping patients understand proposed procedures.

Taking the time to educate your patients will prevent them from referring to online sources of information and being exposed to misinformation where more fear or confusion may seep into their minds, affecting their decision-making process.

  1. Make patients feel comfortable coming to you with any oral health questions or concerns

Your patients may refer to various online sources to get oral health information rather than going to you as their oral health provider because they may feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or that you don’t have the time with your busy schedule. As an oral health professional, where your sole purpose is to care for your patient’s oral health, it is up to make your patients feel like they can come to you with any oral health questions or concerns they may have.

You can do this by: reassuring your patients that no question is a bad question, that they were not wrong for doing their own research first, and by being patient with them during appointments, especially if they have a lot of questions. You can also answer all of their questions, especially questions they may have after reading information online, don’t make them feel like their concerns are not valid, and setting up phone appointments to discuss any oral health concerns they may have.

Implementing these suggestions will help improve your relationship with your patients, in which you could become their first source of information, helping combat the increased availability of oral health information online and potential exposure to misleading information.

  1. Suggest additional online resources your patients can go to if they require more information

As an oral health professional, you will educate your patients on proposed treatments, answer any oral health questions they have, and they will most likely still want to do their own research. In that case, it would be best to suggest to your patients’ additional online resources that they can go to, to get information on various oral health topics.

Referring your patients to specific online resources, ones you value as their oral health provider like studies and journals, ensures they are getting information from reputable resources, reducing the chances of misinformation now and in the future.

  1. Ensure your patients follow your dental practices social media accounts

Social media is becoming a large part of everyone’s lives. People use it to learn about products, and brands – some even learn about oral health topics. With that can come a lot of misinformation for dental patients, leading to a lot of questions, concerns and fear.

If you have social media accounts for your oral health practice where you post a lot of oral health tips, and information, you should try your best to have your patients follow those social media accounts. Doing this will help combat the increased availability of oral health information online as your patients will be getting such information directly from you, their oral health provider. You will be the one educating your patients on oral health rather than a potentially random account that has no merit to be discussing such topics.

Patients’ oral health improves when patients are an active, cognitive participant in making decision about their dental treatment. Therefore, it is beneficial for patients to do their own research on oral health topics or procedures as long as they’re going to the right places to find this information. As an oral health provider, in addition to being there for your patients with whatever oral health questions or concerns they may have, you must also share your knowledge and educate them, as well as guide them in the right direction for doing their own research.

If your current dental software solution does not have tools you need to help you combat the increased availability of oral health information online and misinformation, implement the ADSTRA Dental Software solution.

Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation demo.