Your voice tone, pitch and speed will greatly influence a client's decision. Speak calmly as you would to a good friend, so
that clients are able to see their pets' oral disease as you do—a real problem necessitating intervention. Emphasizing the
pain and discomfort associated with oral disease is a good place to start. Clients report to us daily on the difference dentistry
has made in their pets' lives.
Gestures and facial expressions are powerful tools, conveying the magnitude of oral examination findings and need for treatment.
Clients need to know the significance of their pets' problems before they can attach a value to treatment. If during an oral
examination, you find advanced periodontal disease or discover a fractured tooth with pulp exposure, your facial expression
is likely to give away the severity of the condition (Photo 3). Your clients' decisions are likely to be based largely on
emotion, so avoid downplaying more minor conditions, and don't hold back on expressing the significance of advanced dental
Photo 3: Concerned facial expressions during an oral exam emphasize the importance of the pathology.
Children, other pets and cell phones are common exam-room distractions. Being aware of disruptions and having a plan on how
to handle them are musts to gain compliance. To control distractions:
- Don't let the patient be the distraction. There are several ways to prevent pets from jumping or playing while you are explaining
the dental problem and treatment recommendations. You may choose to hold the pet so the client can concentrate on the matter
at hand or have a technician hold the pet so that the client can focus on you. Smaller pets may do best back in their carriers
while the details are discussed. Separating the pet from the client is another effective method if the patient is too large
to hold or is excitable.
- Cell phones are harder to control than bouncy pets. Having a clearly posted cell phone policy in your waiting area and exam
rooms may help. Clients can also be politely reminded that calls may be made or received outside before entering the exam
- Use toys to control spirited kids. If you don't have the luxury of having a kiddy corner in your practice, have age-appropriate
toys available such as crayons and coloring books. At the beginning of the exam, ask the child to draw a picture of the family