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08 March 2021

Humanization of dental treatments. An emerging trend

Authors:M. Bazzano, R. Mauceri, V. Panzarella, O. Di Fede, G. Pizzo, R. Coniglio, D. Montemaggiore, G. Campisi


The purpose of this paper is to provide the oral health specialists the characteristics of the narrative interview, understood as different from the traditional anamnesis and able to detect the patient's universe, basis of the humanization process in dentistry, and to show a clinical model of humanization of dental care.

Materials and Methods

This article describes the key points of the process of humanization in dentistry and as such practice has been integrated into the Unit of Oral Medicine, at University Hospital of Palermo, in order to support to the patients’ frailty. The scientific community has questioned the traditional medical approach focused on the disease and pays increasing attention to the patient's involvement in the diagnosis and treatment process. In the case of dental medical practice, every time a patient sits in the dental chair he brings with him a story, that of his stomatognathic system. Therefore, in order to optimize treatments, it is useful to rethink the dentist/patient relationship today: good clinical practice is not done without empathically listening to the patients’ history, their representations, perceptions, and experiences. Thus, it becomes necessary to organize better and more effective settings where it is possible to insert, routinely, adequate active listening and adopt specific communication techniques. So, the anamnesis, technically correct as aseptic collection of information, is replaced by the narrative interview, in order to allow the clinicians to truly understand the meaning of patients’ illness, and not only to contemplate the disease features. The authors illustrate their experience of dental team management in a narrative key.

Results and conclusions

Narrative medicine provides the tools for a treatment plan more patient-centered and comprehensible to all dentists, it reduces the distances between the recent graduate and the “good” dentist, naturally equipped with active listening, or the mature dentist who has experimented with his model but after many years of practice and communication errors. 

Clinical significance

Narrative medicine promotes the development of a systemic, integrated and multidisciplinary approach in which the team, duly trained, plays a key role for the well-being of the community, providing greater attention to frailty patients.


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