Instructs in preventive dentistry.
Applies pit and fissure sealants.
b. The PDS notifies the dental officer of conditions requiring further examination
and treatment. In the military community, the PDS may have a major role in teaching
prevention of oral disease. In both fields of endeavor, the PDS is the individual making
direct contact with the public or the patient. His interest, attitude, and appearance, the
manner in which he performs the required duties, and his enthusiasm and knowledge all
will influence the acceptance of the PDS's professional efforts.
Since human behavior is quite variable, there is no common motivational
technique for every patient. This area is perhaps the most challenging and rewarding
aspect of the practice of dentistry. Learning to be a good listener during your
examination and oral interviews is essential to understand the patient's dental
Learning these things about each individual gives a baseline from which to proceed.
One must keep in mind that not all patients are as interested or motivated in oral health
as those in the profession. Occasionally, one must accept the fact that some patients
will never change their habits. However, one must not make the mistake of giving up
too soon since humans tend to learn by repetition and conditioning. We can offer
professional advice and guidance, but the patient must decide for himself how the
advice will be used. The goal in a preventive dentistry education program is to convince
the patient that new oral health habits, with the various associated behaviors, are
There are many barriers to effective two-way communication with certain
patients. Two of the most common are fear and inactivity.
a. Fear may be caused by a previously traumatic experience, information gained
from others, or just fear of the unknown. Fear is generally not as critical a problem in
preventive dentistry as it is in restorative or surgical procedures. Much of the patient's
anxiety can be relieved by explaining what is going to happen and how it will be done.
Most importantly, care about your patients. Patients can sense your concern,
particularly younger children. It will make your job much easier and more enjoyable.
b. The second barrier, inactivity, can be eliminated by getting the patient
involved in the education process. Let him demonstrate his brushing and flossing
techniques, and encourage questions.