Dr Mark HassedWatching dentists talk with patients about treatment there are a number of mistakes that I see made over and over again.

Mistake #5 — Jargon


Have you ever been in a group of people where they started talking in a language you didn't understand? Not very nice was it? It made you feel alienated, didn't it?

That's what it's like when we use dental jargon in front of a patient. Words that are simple to us like “pulp”, “tissues” and “caries” may have no meaning to a patient or even an entirely different meaning.

To a patient, “tissues” come in a box.

They know that you're talking about them but they cannot understand what you mean — and they don't want to appear stupid — so they just shut down and with withdraw.

An ophthalmologist told me a while ago that I have “presbyopia”. Not wanting to appear stupid I nodded and said “I suspected as much!” Why couldn't he have used a simple term I would understand (long-sighted)?

So, rule #5 is: Speak in plain English. Never use any sort of technical jargon.


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