Lesson #3: CORE Lesson #3 – Simple Goals First!

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Action Items

  1. Make sure you have a simple goal setting mode in your guided discovery process.

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Hello, welcome back to another video and, on this video, we're going to talk about goal setting for our patients. This is absolutely essential and it's one of the things that's often overlooked when it comes to the Guided Discover Process, and I'm going to talk to you about what goals you need to be setting for your patients at the beginning. And let's dig in. So this is tenet number three, which is all about setting simple goals first, larger goals later, during the Guided Discovery Process. The number one issue that I see dentist's fall victim to is what we're going to talk, blowing patients away at this first initial Guided Discovery Process. Now, this is not meant to be a comprehensive exam, unless you set it up in your office that way, but I'm really telling you, if you try to do that, you will lose your patient.

You can't be spending an hour, hour and a half, doing a clinical exam at that first appointment. I know when I started this process, that's what I did. And if you're like me, you'd get this doc that was the most comprehensive exam I've ever had. I never was aware of any of this stuff, and then they'd leave and they'd never come back. I was blowing them out of the water, and it was actually a detriment to my practice as it was in helping. So, if you hear that, originally I thought, "Well, that's great." But you know what? That's not necessarily great, and the reason was that I was going too fast. I was doing too much at once, I was completely inundating my patients with so much information they couldn't process it anymore.

So you've really got to slow this down and you've got to set simple goals first, larger goals later. It's absolutely essential. The tendency is to throw all the treatment and conditions at the patients all at once. Big, big, big mistake. If your exam process right now typically takes an hour at this point, you are doing too much. Like I talked about before, I'm really doing a few things. I'm getting an initial perio screening, however you do that in your practice. I'm doing an initial tooth decay. I want to make sure that there's no pain, pus, or bleeding. That stuff needs to be addressed. And if I can get to any bite analysis at all, just looking at tooth wear form pictures, that's good. It's photos, perio, and tooth decay, and after that, really I don't need to be doing too much more at this appointment.

Where I run into problems with doctors is they go, "Well, they need informed consent and every clinical condition needed to be charted and talked about." That's true, to a point. You can talk to patients about all the things that you're seeing, but again, what is informed consent really, right? I think if it's not pain, pus, or bleeding, it's not going to kill the patient, it is not something that absolutely has to be talked about at the first appointment. So tooth wear, you can mention tooth wear. You might be able to mention some links between tooth wear and sleep apnea and get the patients thinking and say, "You know, honestly, we can't make that diagnosis today, but that's just something in the future we're going to have to look at together when you're ready." That's the easiest way to do it, and then move on. Don't talk for 45 minutes about sleep apnea.

The goal here is that you have to understand that most patients come in completely unaware of their conditions. So the only thing you need to focus on right now is helping them get aware of some things first. And the easiest way to do that is by looking at plaque, looking at bleeding, looking at things that they have control over. Get them to set small goals over things they have control over. Now, this is not a push to get structured chart, because I haven't, but it's not an absolutely essential, you can use Patterson's software, you could use Florida Probe, you could use anything, but I always start with perio first because it's also the easiest thing to set goals for patients, small goals that patients can control.

Helping to understand if you use disclosing solution, for example, and there was 80% of the areas had plaque on them. The next initial goal would be, "Let's just help you eliminate plaque off of your teeth, because we know plaque causes disease." And I showed that link between plaque and inflammation, which is bleeding. If you have a lot of plaque in your teeth, you typically have a lot of bleeding, right? So helping the plaque helps the bleeding. And my patients are setting their own goals, so they tell me, "Okay, I want to work on this," and then they get healthier. They set that small goal, they accomplish the small goal. Think about how we set goals. We set small goals, work towards bigger goals, bigger goals, bigger goals, bigger goals.

The same thing has to take place in your practice if you want to be successful moving them on a path to health. They have to understand that they have to be an active participant. Health is not something you can give them. They have to participate in it. It is a creation of something. So simple goals that are health oriented. If the patient is saying, "I want to be healthier," it's absolutely essential at the Guided Tour. And then understand that, as their awareness expands, down the road, whether it's at the initial possibilities appointment or even a future review of findings, you can start to discuss larger goals and timeframe when the time is right. Now that's the art form, right? But just, you not get into trouble if you set simple goals first, larger goals later. You will get into trouble if you try to throw too much at a patient at one point in time.

So keep that in mind. Your action steps for this video is, make sure you have a simple goal setting mode in your Guided Discovery Process. Simple. One thing they can work on between the time that they see you and then the time that you come back for the initial possibilities appointment, if that's the next step for the, something simple they can set that you can check in on. Very, very easy to do. And so hopefully you got some value out of this video and I'll see you at the next one.