Collection of resources for the learning and teaching of communication skills


Non-jargon explanation for all dental conditions

  1. If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.– Albert Einstein
    Keep it short (1-2 sentences) Explain in terms that relate what it means to the patient; not in terms of how it is done. e.g. a crown is something that covers the tooth to minimise the risk of fracture - instead of that you are going to cut a layer all around the tooth and take an impression and send it to the lab. (this is just how we think of things procedurally and technically)
    Do not teach dentistry to the patient. You don't need to go deep into the procedural part of things, what they need to know what it means to them and what are the downsides. (explain the benefits and not the procedure e.g... what does it mean to them). You do need to give the patient the opportunities to ask more about the "how" but this is not the starting point.

    Term Technical Non-technical
    Caries   is a hole in the tooth that, unless something is done to stop the hole getting bigger, will get so big that not enough tooth will be left to ever fix the tooth
    Periapical abscess   bag of pus in the bone at the end of your tooth.
    Cracked tooth sydrome   Hairline crack in the tooth, and when you bite the tooth flexes and opens the crack up and the tooth lets you know it isn't happy about this so it lets you know
    Crown   cover or cap that protects and overlays a tooth so it envelops a split in that tooth so that when you chomp down, you can chomp knowing that the tooth is unlikely to be split any further
    Asymptomatic pulpitis   I know you’re not feeling it, but that tooth is hurting you. The infection is eating away at the bone, and eventually the spreading infection will cause pain—usually at the most inconvenient time.
    Rubber dam  

    We’re going to put something around the tooth now so that you won’t have to swallow the disinfectants we’ll be using during treatment. Once this protective shield is in place, you’ll be very comfortable. You still will be able to breathe right through your mouth if you want to, and through your nose, too

    For your comfort and convenience, I’m going to place a protective shield over your tooth.