Home Dental Episode #651: Patient Lifestyle Habits that Sabotage Your Treatment Plans, with Dr. Uche Odiatu

Episode #651: Patient Lifestyle Habits that Sabotage Your Treatment Plans, with Dr. Uche Odiatu

by adminjay

Dentists are the gatekeepers of wellness and the wave is coming! Implants not taking? Dry sockets persisting? A bad patient can make even the best dentist look bad. Get ready to ask the right questions and build an office culture to bring you and your patients to the best dental and overall health yet. To learn how, listen to Episode 651 of The Best Practices Show!

Episode Resources:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Dr. Uche’s website

Dr. Uche on Instagram

Main Takeaways:

Awareness is the first step of change.

A patient with toxic lifestyle habits can make even the best dentist look bad.

To ask better questions about health, you have to be healthy yourself.

There is a wellness wave happening. Get ready to be on it. 


“Well, a study club is all about achievement, next level, elite patient care. They do the clinical stuff. They have the sterilization, the best implant parts. They have the best of everything. A trained team; a crack team. Then a patient shows up, who loves lemon meringue pie, doesn’t love his job, disengaged from work, watches the whole evening “Emily in Paris” and you wonder why your implant doesn’t integrate or there’s a dry socket. A whole lot of stuff patients do at night, in their non-dental clinic time can either support your treatment or sabotage.” (1:15—1:50)

“Awareness is the first step of change. So you gotta start thinking, we haven’t begun studying this. I have sleep on my new patient questionnaire. Well, “how do you sleep?” “Great.” “Ok let’s go onto the next one. Do you drink coffee?” There is so much more to sleep than just saying “do you sleep great?” Time in bed isn’t sleep. Most people say “yeah I get to bed at midnight, get up at 7” and the dentist goes “ok that’s 7 hours” No. That’s time in bed. Actual sleep efficiency is 70%. That’s only 5 hours. And 5 hours, Matthew Walker Neuroscientist, 5 hours is not good. It’s an inflammatory cascade at night if you sleep 5 hours. Literally nothing is healing. The immune system is not able to re-boot.” (3:07—4:43)

“A really bad patient who has got really toxic lifestyle habits can make the best dentist’s work look horrible. Bleeding around your beautiful veneers because they’re up all night; they’re going through a bad divorce; they are 310 pounds.  ” (4:28—4:40)

“Health is large. Health is global. And you gotta start thinking globally. So don’t just think about your end of it. You gotta start thinking of the patients’ end. They come in and they’ll either make you successful or fail” (5:23—5:32)

“You gotta start thinking about the patient. Maybe he needs a lifestyle turnaround. In the meantime though you can still get started. And you can seem like a cutting edge dentist by acknowledging how the patient’s lifestyle is actually going to impact the treatment.” (6:58—7:09)

“That’s what provisionals are for…Once you acknowledge it, you start realizing ok I want success. I wouldn’t say you have to change everything immediately….I’m saying all it takes is to start asking better questions. But in order to ask better questions and appreciating health, you have to be healthy yourself.” (9:43—9:55)

“You can’t take a patient on a journey, you yourself, haven’t been on. So if you don’t appreciate health. You don’t sleep well yourself. You don’t wear your CPAP. You haven’t exercised since grade 11, you aren’t going to be very convincing chairside.” (10:17—10:28)

“Think of it as a journey. Say “A year from now, my team is going to be wellness focused. We are going to look the part. We are going to have authentic communication.” (11:32—11:38)

“If you’re walking the talk, no matter how doubtful, people will surrender to your certainty.” (14:26—14:32)

“Genes don’t change much. We weren’t meant to eat 64 lbs-128 lbs [of sugar]. We’re meant to eat max 2 lbs. So our 2 million year old physiology is saying ‘What the heck are you doing?’ And now the fire starts. Joint pain, brain fog, sciatica, reflux, neck soreness, dry mouth, dry eyes. All because you’re in sympathetic-dominant mode, which is fight or flight. That’s what sugar does.” (116:24—116:42)

“You get the patient excited, now they want to move forward. And people think “What about the crowns?” They will get the crowns done…But you need a patient who sleeps deep, eats healthy and then they will do the crowns later. But in the meantime, let’s get you alive. And then that patient will say to her sister on the phone “I just met a dentist. We are talking sleep. We are talking mouth breathing. I’m getting a sleep study. I’m excited.”…So now her sister books an appointment. Now we’ve got another family coming. It was a good conversation. Leaving that 3 minute re-care exam, I’m thinking this is working.” (20:10—21:01)

“Look bigger. Start looking at the posture. Start looking where the hands are. Why is their purse on the lap in front of them? Why are they afraid? What’s the general posture like? Is the mouth dry? What meds are they on? Are their feet clicking? I want to see what meds they’re on. I want to see are they able to look me in the eye. Are we connecting? A lot of patients when they’re talking, they’re looking straight ahead. There is no authentic communication when a patient is looking straight ahead. He or she is not connected with you. I like them to turn around. Or to feel comfortable turning around.” (21:50—22:20)

“Learn body language. There is a great book called “What Every Body’s Saying” by Joe Navarro. And it’s what the body tells you. So someone has their hands across. What it means is they don’t feel safe. If someone is rubbing their thighs, it means they have some anxiety or possible sweat on their hands…You come in “how can I help you today?” People say “help?” “I want to help you. You came here for a solution.” And then as they feel comfortable they’ll turn towards you. And now the communication’s straight. Now I can see the eyelids, any circles under their eyes. I can see that. The throat. I can see if they have dryness inside…that’s all part of the dental assessment. You’ve got to be assessing them. You’ve got to be a detective. Look at everything, not just what they’re saying.” (23:29—23:25)

“You’ve got to be so sold on lifestyle. You gotta be so sold on total health, they lower their uncertainty. I don’t talk money at that point. I’m just talking about hip health. I’m talking about brain health. If someone says “I’m pre-diabetic. My wife has diabetes. My mom has diabetes.” “Well, did you know the Journal of American Dental Association, they’ve actually shown that if you take better care of your mouth, if you take charge of your mouth, if there is less bleeding in your mouth, it lowers the inflammatory burden? It makes you more insulin sensitive. It helps manage your diabetes better; lowers the chance of amputation, cognitive decline and stroke.” They’re 60 and going “How come no one has ever told me that before?”” (24:00—24:37)

“There is a wave that is happening and if you position yourself at total wellness you’re going to ride this wave; and it’s going to last decades and decades. So that being said, I think dentists need to get in shape to be able to ride the wave. You can’t be tired. You got sciatic? Fix it. Reflux? Fix it. Your autonomic nervous system? You gotta fix it. Joint pain? Get yourself a trainer. Wear that CPAP. Do that progressive muscle relaxation before bed so you can sleep deep. And be ready to ride this wave. We are the gateway. And most doctors are saying “Take it. We are exhausted.”” (28:35—29.08)

“Hippocrates said…all disease begins in the gut. What’s in the gut has to go into the mouth first. And dentists just think the mouth for chewing, let’s do some Zoom whitening. The miracle of what the body does, we have known this for millions of years, you take liquid and food and put it in your mouth with a healthy jaw, lots of saliva with amylase…and lysosomes, you start breaking down the world. And then you start breaking it down. Then it becomes my knee, my meniscus, my brain, my shoulder. It’s a miracle what we do…And we are in charge of the masticatory apparatus. We are the gate keepers” (30:48—31:25)

“Enjoy the journey and realize you may not need to see the whole staircase. Step by step like Martin Luther King said.” (32:33—32:38)


0:00 Introduction.

3:07 Diagnostic Awareness.

3:07 What to do prior to treatment.

5:23 Think Globally. 

6:28 When to start asking more questions. 

11:47 You need to get on board and walk the talk.

15:34 The dangers of sugar.

17:40 The time it takes to ask better questions.

22:25 Be relatable

24:00 Overcoming uncertainty

27:26 Dentists can change the world of health.

30:48 The gate keepers.

31:58 Final Thoughts.

Dr. Uche Odiatu Bio:

Dr. Uche Odiatu has a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). He is a professional member of the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), a Certified Personal Trainer (National Strength & Conditioning Association) NSCA, and the Canadian Association of Fitness Professionals (canfitpro). He is the co-author of The Miracle of Health (c) 2009 John Wiley (hardcover) & (c) 2015 Harper Collins, and has lectured in Canada, the USA, the Caribbean, the UK, and Europe. He is an invited guest on over 400 TV and radio shows, from ABC 20/20, Canada CTV AM, Breakfast TV, to Magic Sunday Drum FM in Texas. This high-energy healthcare professional has done over 450 lectures in seven countries over the last 15 years. 

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