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Study Examines Patient Preferences in Sharing Information in Dental Settings

Patients are most comfortable discussing demographics and answering standard dental questions with oral health professionals, but are less comfortable answering questions about trauma, stress and behavioral patterns.

Patients are most comfortable discussing demographics and answering standard dental questions with oral health professionals, but are less comfortable answering questions about trauma, stress and behavioral patterns.

Published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, findings from the study, “Patient Preferences on Sharing Private Information in Dental Settings,” indicate dental education should focus on helping clinicians feel comfortable screening for these issues in a manner preferred by the patient.

The survey assessed patient comfort levels discussing demographics, physical health, behavioral health, oral health and living conditions. Across these five survey sections, participants were more comfortable sharing information on paper than in person. The main reason for objections was that subjects believed certain information — such as living conditions (68%), behavioral health (62%) or demographics (51%) — was not relevant to dental treatment.

These findings suggest dental teams should seek to educate patients about ways in which having a complete medical and personal history can help clinicians provide more effective care.

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