Pearls of Wisdom 3
When teaching patients how to control their plaque, I always found that the most useful first step was to ask them to bring their present toothbrush to the next appointment and not to buy a new one. Many had the bristles turned over and therefore not effective and were surprised to be told that the average like expectancy of a toothbrush head is about 6 weeks.
The next stage was to ask them to demonstrate their brushing method. ‘I start here and then go to there’. It was immediately obvious that there was no plan, that areas would always be missed, and that the starting point was to teach an organised approach to clean each quadrant in turn both labially/bucally and palatally/lingually, and follow up at the next appointment to see what had been learned. If your patients are not using electric brushes, decide which brushing method you will teach.Explain that time is required for plaque control both in the morning and especially thoroughly last thing at night.
If your patient agrees, disclosing tablets, on a one off basis, will show where plaque has been retained and are a useful teaching aid. If you have a clinical camera take a picture. If not detail where the stained areas are. Your Protection Society will thank you for this evidence if ever your patient complains that you have not diagnosed or treated their periodontal disease.
Correct what faults you can. There is much more to effective plaque control than you might think.