The sensations a patient has after leaving the office and completing treatment are often the most important measure they have of success or failure. So what can we do in this space to create more optimal treatment experiences?
Pain is not a case outcome that any dentist can bargain with or avoid entirely. When a patient experiences post-operative sequela, they will naturally begin to wonder how well the treatment went. They think: If it hurts this bad, did my dentist do a bad job?
Because of this, it’s imperative to prevent and treat issues like post-operative jaw and muscle problems. Even the best dental procedure carries risk, so we must account for this and strive to make patients comfortable even for the period after they leave our office.
Prevent and Manage for Optimal Success
Patients will be less likely to remain your patients if the result of treatment is any level of acute or chronic pain. With joint/muscle trauma (usually referred to as JAMSS), the best course is to try to prevent it from occurring.
Assess your patients’ risk factors for JAMSS and make them aware that if they experience any symptoms, they should come back to the office immediately.
Recognize and Treat Joint/Muscle Trauma
If a patient communicates that they’ve been experiencing JAMSS, you must see them as quickly as possible to begin the process of evaluating and managing the discomfort. There are useful protocols that help with preventing these issues from the onset, but sometimes JAMSS is unavoidable.
The most important thing is that you actively convey post-operative possibilities with patients and assist them when that possibility becomes reality.
3 Steps for Success: (1): Figure out if a patient is at risk. (2): Determine whether an appliance would tip the scales toward better recovery. (3): Learn when to complete a more in-depth functional exam.
How do you deal with post-operative problems when they occur in your dental practice? We’d love to hear your thoughts!