Risk assessments in dentistry? What's that all about? Great question!
You know that feeling you get when you walk into a place of business and go through the routine? It could be any business really but the feeling is unmistakable: "I'm going through the system." Well, the way healthcare is going these days, that is likely to become more common. For better or worse, healthcare is subject to so much oversight that the patient-provider relationship is doomed to compromise. Well, what can we do about it? A lot!
It all begins with your healthcare provider. They must take the time to get to know you on your initial visit. As a patient, you should hope that this would be the case. After all, what is your most valuable asset besides you health? If your healthcare provider doesn't take the time to figure you out as a person and a patient, how can they possibly take care of your overall health?
One of the processes that we have developed at Apollonia Dental is a risk assessment for four major categories: Cavities, Periodontal (Gum Disease and Oral Cancer), Function (TMJ and your bite), and Cosmetic. We interview all our new patients about risk factors, habits and choices. The point here is not to be judgmental but to get a realistic view of the dental patient as a person. Only when we have access to this profile can a treatment plan be proposed that is applicable to that patient. This would allow us to recommend prevention and diagnostic strategies based on an individual risk profile instead of a cookie cutter approach.
So, what is your risk assessment profile and how does it impact the care that you are receiving. If you don't know, ask your provider this important question. If you are a long-time patient of the practice, it may be time to reassess your profile. But, you have to be proactive about this as a patient. The fact is that a health provider can never care more for your health than you do. So, if you are more engaged as a patient, the chances are higher that a provider will be more engaged about your health instead of just meeting the "standard of care."
Aditya Singh DDS FAGD