The Advantage of the Patient Advocate

Dr. Lee Sheldon

How important is it for you to have a loved one or friend attend a critical doctor’s visit? 

Patients often see us to make long-term decisions for their dental care. Things have deteriorated to the point where specialty care is needed. 

The new patient sees us for a two-hour visit where x-rays, CT scan, and a full dental evaluation is done. We check mouth acidity, the bite, sometimes the relationship between your spine and your bite (Yes, there is a relationship), periodontal disease, tooth decay, bone availability, tooth to tooth relationship, sometimes a study of your facial musculature. And there’s a lot more.

We then often give more than one option for treatment. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option. Can you imagine then going home and explaining what happened to your spouse or loved one? Can you possibly communicate the findings at that two-hour visit effectively?  

When major decisions are being made, either dentally or medically, you should have someone with you; someone who is level-headed, someone who knows you, someone who can help you in the decision-making process. There are questions to be asked, costs to be considered. And your loved one knows you and can help you in that process. 

As a back-up, there is Zoom, which allows the loved one who can’t make it to have a good discussion with the doctor or with the treatment coordinator. It’s good but not as good as being there. 

So when you know you have a major decision to make, bring someone with you. You’ll have someone to discuss things with, someone to bounce ideas off of. And along with the doctor and staff, you’ll reassure yourself that your decision is the right one for you. 

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