Starting the Conversation: 3 Tips to Help You Talk to Adult Patients About Braces

Approaching the Subject of Adult Braces

Adult braces can be a difficult topic to approach, as many adult patients are hesitant to begin orthodontic treatment due to aesthetic concerns. However, braces are often essential to fix a patient’s bite and ensure their long-term oral health.

How you communicate with patients who are good candidates for orthodontics is key to getting them on board with treatment. Your office’s environment, available resources, and willingness to tailor this conversation will all influence how they receive your recommendations. For a successful conversation about braces with your adult patients, make sure to follow these 3 effective tips.

1. Create a comfortable environment.

Providing a comfortable environment is one of the best things you can do to improve your dental practice in general. There’s often an emotional element to how your patients perceive care options. Anything you can do to ease anxiety and to foster comfort will leave your patients better able to understand and focus on the facts at hand.

When talking to patients about braces, open communication is vital. You want your patients to feel comfortable asking questions and raising concerns. Something as simple as asking, “Am I too old for braces?” can be difficult for patients if they’re concerned about a potentially negative reaction.

To smooth out communications, try to be both understanding and direct. There’s no need to sugarcoat the reality of having braces as an adult, but taking the time to acknowledge patients’ feelings and expectations can go a long way in making the idea of orthodontic treatment less daunting.

When recommending needed treatments patients may be averse to, such as adult braces, you need a foundation of trust. Building trust with patients is a process that can take years, so it’s important to avoid presenting information in a way that could break it.

Staying open, honest, and realistic during all discussions can help maintain that trust. Don’t set unrealistic expectations or gloss over potential downsides. Your patients have come to you for your expert guidance and care, and they need to know that they can rely on the information you provide.

2. Educate patients about benefits.

Many of the concerns around adult braces come from a lack of education on the topic. As a dentist, you understand the benefits of orthodontic treatment well. But for many patients, the idea of what having braces is like has been shaped by movies and TV.

When talking to patients about braces, use various educational resources. Images and videos can help quickly and accurately describe the mechanics and processes involved in orthodontic treatment. Developing that basic understanding will help your patients feel much more confident about braces.

Many patients aren’t aware of just how beneficial adult braces can be, often thinking of them as a treatment only applicable to teenagers. Make sure to highlight the benefits of a straight and healthy smile at any age. Explain how orthodontics helps protect oral hygiene, prevent tooth decay and gum disease, avoid wear, and alleviate TMJ disorders.

While these benefits are immediately apparent to a dental professional, your patients won’t understand the full impact of adult braces unless you tell them. You’ll want to discuss the oral health benefits, but also include the positive emotional impact that having a beautiful, straight smile can have.

3. Tailor the conversation.

One of the most fundamental concepts in effective dentistry is patient-centered care. Since each patient is unique, you must tailor your conversational approach accordingly.

The first step is understanding what your patient’s needs, goals, and concerns are. Take the time to listen carefully and ask the right questions to expand on certain points. This is often one of the most challenging steps, but it is absolutely vital.

Many adult patients simply don’t realize that adult orthodontic treatment is a viable option. Explain that braces are highly effective and can still properly align teeth even though they are well past the developmental stage.

Discomfort and inconvenience are also major sticking points. While you can’t tell your patients that having braces is entirely painless, you can reiterate that the common view many people have is a major exaggeration.

Reassure them that most people experience only mild, occasional discomfort and that maintenance is relatively straightforward if they follow the proper directions. Having a candid discussion about the reality of adult braces will improve patients’ confidence and help them come around to the idea.

Are you prepared to answer questions about braces?

When you provide a comfortable environment built on trust, along with helpful resources and tailored conversation, you can communicate effectively with your adult patients about braces. Putting these tips into action requires a solid understanding of what goes into orthodontic treatment. American Orthodontic Society courses provide the comprehensive education you need to communicate with patients confidently and handle every aspect of their treatment. Browse our courses today to get started.

To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.

1st Session: April 26-28, 2024

AOS Institute
1785 State Highway 26
Grapevine, Texas 76051

July 19-21, 2024

AOS Institute
1785 State Highway 26
Grapevine, Texas 76051

August 23-24, 2024

AOS Institute
1785 State Highway 26
Grapevine, Texas 76051

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