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Keeping Up With Well-informed Patients

By Author: Karen McDonagh

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A number of dental professionals are already sharing stories of patients who enter the dental clinic seeming to know more about oral health concerns and the different dental treatments available. Sometimes the dental professional is caught off-guard when the patient brings up an issue on oral health and asks a lot of questions or asks highly detailed explanations, which makes the conversation seem like a one-on-one lecture is being given. Sometimes the patient may even bring up a topic that to the dental professional may seem confusing and unrelated, but soon it becomes clear as to what the patient means or where the patient is deriving concerns from. All this sudden awareness for details and sometimes reason for confusion and complication is traced to one source: the internet.

Since the year 2000, there is a marked increase in amount of more than 500 percent in internet users around the world. The internet is recognized as a vast database of information and portal for communication. The significance of this is that persons are able to easily and conveniently increase their knowledge of any subject matter or issue, including that of oral health; hence the existence of such well-informed patients that enter dental clinics.

So what can dental professionals do to keep up with the availability of information?

One of the best ways to stay knowledgeable of these constant oral health developments is for dental professionals to participate in online dental education. Through constant review and awareness of oral health news and progress, the dental professional will be able to stay on top of the chain and maintain his authority over oral health concerns. This allows the dental professional to adequately address any concerns and questions that the patient may have.

Websites offering online dental education are usually maintained and updated by credible authorities of the profession. This ensures that the educational content of such websites are relevant to clinical practice and of good standard. It can therefore be said that subject matters discussed or taught in these websites are enough to keep the dental professional well-informed throughout his clinical practice.

Most of these online dental education websites have received accreditation with the proper establishments. This makes participation in their curricula valid and acceptable as continuing professional education, which is something required of licensed dental practitioners. Nations have included in their Health Law the requirement for health practitioners to fulfill a minimum number of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) or Education (CPE) hours in order to encourage and persuade health workers to take advantage of the benefits of constantly learning about their profession and practice. This was done because health authorities have become aware of the general public becoming more involved in medical issues, and they want to ensure that members of the health work force are able to keep up.

Health organizations, including those of dentistry, recognize that the general public, through information available on the internet, is able to learn of health subjects and issues that once were only learned through a course of formal medical or dental education. There is a need for dental professionals to constantly expand their knowledge of oral health and clinical practice in order to sustain their authority in these subject matters and be able to answer questions or concerns that their patients may present. Through online dental education, dental professionals may stay sharp and keep up with well-informed patients, thus being able to provide them with the quality dental service they expect.


Karen McDonagh is a proud contributing author and write articles on several subjects including Dental Courses. For more information please see CPD in Dental Industry.

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