The T-Scan is an effective patient education tool for illustrating existing occlusal pathology. It presents complex occlusal information in a visual format that is easily understood. The T-Scan applies to all stages of the teaching/learning process because its recorded data forms the framework upon which a doctor/patient discussion can begin regarding the patient's occlusal disease manifestations, the potential benefit of treatments, and the risks of not undergoing corrective treatment. When used as part of an educational strategy, the T-Scan can lead the patient to accept procedures that would benefit their long-term dental health. This chapter outlines the four stages of creating optimum dental health, the steps required to perform effective teaching and learning, the differing styles of teaching and learning utilized in educational forums, and how to best employ the technique of Feature, Function, and Benefit. A case study illustrates how T-Scan data can educate a patient about their own occlusal problems.
One of a doctor’s many roles is to educate patients with regards to their health (ADA, 2010). The three most prevalent diseases dentists regularly treat are caries, periodontal disease and occlusal disease (Christensen, 2001). Occlusal disease is under treated by many practitioners (Christensen, 1995), which is partially due to the difficultly of having a patient understand the benefits that occlusal therapies offer in the treatment of occlusal pathologies. Utilizing the T-Scan Computerized Occlusal Analysis System (T-Scan 8, Tekscan, Inc. S. Boston, MA, USA) in combination with a well-planned strategy for patient education, can improve the number of patients who accept occlusal therapies that likely would benefit them.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Visual Learning: One of the four learning styles. Visual learners learn by seeing and watching. Visual clues and graphics are important to them.
Dental IQ: Dental IQ is a concept taught by Dr. L.D. Pankey, which aimed to have patients accept responsibility for their condition, and then accept treatments that would be beneficial to them. Dr. Pankey believed that once patients truly understood and accepted their disease, most would go ahead with needed therapies.
Kinesthetic Learning: One of the four learning styles. Kinesthetic learners learn by doing and feeling. Having the patient place their finger on a tooth which has fremitus, so they can feel the fremitus occur will enhance the kinesthetic learner’s learning experience.
Reading Learning: One of the four learning styles. Reading learners learn by reading. A handout, or providing the reading learner links to additional written resources, will enhance their learning.
Feature, Function, Benefit Statement: Every item or service that a buyer or patient is considering buying, will have a feature (the treatment, service, or procedure), a function (what the feature does), and a benefit (what is in it for the patient). Buying decisions are based upon what will be beneficial to the person, and are not based on what the item or service is, or what the item or service does. Buying decisions are therefore based on the benefit to the buyer. In speaking with patients, it is helpful to always giving the benefit first. Any discussion of fees for the procedure should relate the fee to the benefit the patient will experience, rather than relating the fee to the feature.
Command Teaching Style: One of the four teaching styles. The teacher is in charge and gives the information to the student. This is the most often utilized teaching style, but it may not always be the most effective. Command style teaching can be very effective when there exists a prior trust established between the student and teacher, and the student is actively seeking the information.
Creating the Need to Know: One of three steps of effective teaching/learning. To optimize learning, before information is given to a student, the teacher must create in the student, a need to know the information. This can be done in many ways, one of which is to ask questions that the student does not have answers to.
Auditory Learning: One of the four learning styles. Auditory learners learn by listening. They are attuned to auditory clues and sounds. Making a sound with a banging fist hitting the palm of one’s hand to simulate teeth hitting too hard, would benefit auditory learners.
Guided Discovery Teaching Style: One of the four teaching styles. The teacher asks a series of guiding questions that allows the student to discover the answers. Guided Discovery is very effective in fully engaging the student to believe what is being taught, since the student is the one discovering the answers.