By Alvin Danenberg, DDS, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

January 23, 2019 -- In my last column, we talked about a 30-day nutritional reset for patients. Let's acknowledge that having a comprehensive conversation with your patients about nutrition, oral health, and their eating habits isn't easy.

Alvin Danenberg, DDS
Alvin Danenberg, DDS.

As I had more of these conversations with my colleagues about how to have these conversations with their patients, I developed what I call a dental nutritional counseling program. This program helps your patients develop a practical eating plan for themselves and their families.

Originally, I designed this course to be a continuing education course for dentists and hygienists. However, the feedback I've received suggests the program is perfect for any healthcare facility. I also designed the program so that any team member could discuss it with patients.

What you learn in the program

The program includes both clinical and marketing information for your practice:

  • Why your dental office is the perfect platform to educate patients about nutrition
  • Current peer-reviewed research that demonstrates the effects of nutrition on dental decay and periodontal disease in human studies.
  • In-Office Nutritional Counseling Program
  • Marketing tools to get the message out

The program offers practical advice, links to research, and more, including this list for what to do when a patient comes to your office:

  1. Treat any immediate pain, infection, or dental emergency with the procedures you have determined to be appropriate.
  2. If the patient has heavy plaque or supragingival calculus that makes it difficult for you to do a thorough exam, schedule a debridement with the hygienist (D4355) so you can follow up with a thorough dental exam.
  3. After your thorough exam, schedule the proper "cleaning appointment" and develop a treatment plan for necessary procedures. Discuss the dental nutritional counseling program. If the patient is interested, move to step No. 4.
  4. Schedule the appropriate dental nutritional counseling appointments (D1310).

At the first nutritional counseling appointment (D1310), your trained staff member will discuss the program with the patient and present the three-day food journal for the patient to complete. Then, schedule the second nutritional counseling appointment.

At the second nutritional counseling appointment (D1310), you will review the patient’s completed three-day food journal. Then, recommend healthier food substitutes.

You may consider scheduling additional nutritional counseling appointments every three months, every six months, or every year as required.

Paying it forward

After many requests on social media and via email, I'm making the course available for the first time and at no cost. This is one way for me to "give back" and "pay it forward."

If you are interested in the PDF of the full program, please send me an email and I will send it to you. I only request that you give me credit for my program.

I believe I wrote my program to be easy to follow and understand. But if you have some questions, I will respond by email to go into it in more detail if necessary. Just let me know.

Alvin Danenberg, DDS, practices at the Bluffton Center for Dentistry in Bluffton, SC. He is also on the faculty of the College of Integrative Medicine and created its integrative periodontal teaching module. He also spent two years as chief of periodontics at Charleston Air Force Base earlier in his career. His website is drdanenberg.com.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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