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Motivational interviewing (MI) is a person-centered counselling style that has been used in many healthcare fields, including dentistry, to help individuals make the positive changes they want in their health behaviours. MI is evidence-based approach and focuses on exploring and resolving a person's indecision towards behaviour change, and has been shown to be effective in promoting dental health behaviours such as regular dental visits and oral hygiene practices.


The central aim of MI is to help individuals tap into their own reasons for change and to build on their intrinsic motivation. This approach recognises that people are more likely to be successful in making changes when they feel empowered and in control of the process, rather than by being shamed or lectured at by a dentist. MI is collaborative in nature and focuses on enhancing your own self-efficacy and confidence in your ability to make change.


In dentistry, MI can be used to help people overcome barriers to regular dental visits and to improve their dental health behaviours. For example, MI can be used to address common concerns such as fear of pain or anxiety about the dentist, and to help people feel confident about regular dental check-ups and oral hygiene practices. MI creates an environment where the patient feels heard, understood, and respected, which can lead to improved trust and satisfaction with dental care.


For too long, dentists have relied on shaming and scaring patients into accepting dental treatment. in the MI method, a dentist should not tell the patient what they should do, but rather help the patient to explore and understand their own reasons for change and the decision each person feels is right for them. MI is a core process used at Mindset Dental to help our patients achieve the dental health they want. If you are a dental patient who is experiencing anxiety or other barriers to regular dental care, consider discussing motivational interviewing with your dentist as a potential tool to help you overcome these challenges and achieve optimal oral health.

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