The newsLINK Group - Reasons to Refer

Editorial Library Category: General Business | Dental | Periodontist – Gum Disease Topics: Dental, Referring Title: Reasons to Refer Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: There are lots of reasons to refer patients to our offices. The degree to which a general dentist will refer to a specialist varies widely from dentist to dentist. Some general dentists perform the vast majority of treatment needed by their patients and refer only in extenuating circumstances. Editorial: Reasons to Refer 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 There are lots of reasons to refer patients to our offices. The degree to which a general dentist will refer to a specialist varies widely from dentist to dentist. Some general dentists perform the vast majority of treatment needed by their patients and refer only in extenuating circumstances. In contrast, other dentists refer a high percentage of their difficult procedures to our office, electing to do only routine treatment. A Second Opinion Diagnosis is often problematic. Everyone has had cases which do not match the classic textbook presentation; particularly if early and acute. And some patients are just such bad historians. Even the most experienced must admit that sometimes the internal histological state of a tooth or periodontium is not always apparent. Referral can avoid anxiety and suffering by both the patient and the dentist. If the specialist identifies the diagnosis, the patient then can be helped and usually shows gratitude and respect to the referring dentist for his or her wisdom to refer to a specialist. It is obvious that the general dentist has been professional enough to put their patient before their profits. Alternatively, if the diagnosis remains elusive then the referring dentist appears vindicated. Regression in a Patient Despite your efforts and the patient’s efforts to maintain, there are times, when unfortunately, a treatment plan just doesn’t go according to plan. A periodontal practice employing “the latest and greatest” hopefully will stop the disease, but if a patient continues downhill in a specialty practice, legally it is assumed the best was done. Compromised Patients When dealing with compromised patients, sometimes referrals are made with technically straightforward cases, because the consequences of failure are great. These patients – and we all have dealt with them – have extenuating circumstances in their lives. They may have advanced periodontic disease, perio-systemic interactions, medical, physical, or emotional challenges (including autoimmune or age-related disorders, diabetes, oral cancer, etc. These are the patients that are at high-risk for a successful outcome and will need specialized attention and follow-up. Specialty Surgeries Some specialty surgeries need equipment, materials and techniques which are not feasible in a general practice. Examples include crown lengthening for subgingival decay or fracture, cosmetic crown lengthening, a traumatic extraction/ridge preservation, ridge augmentation, pontic receptor site formation, root coverage with connective tissue grafts, implants and site preparation for implants including bone/sinus grafts. The Partial Referral Many of our referring dentists refer parts of their treatment plan, opting to use our services as consulting specialists with intervention only if an unexpected finding or untoward event during treatment arises, raising the complexity above the dentist’s comfort zone or for preplanned carve-outs of the treatment plan, after which the patient is returned to the referring dentist. The art of referral is an important one, if patients are to be given access to the best dental care. Additionally, referrals can be the lifeblood of a general dentist practice, as good referrals allow the dentist to get on with what he or she does best - caring general dentistry with good prevention and long- term management. Sources: Word Count: 515 Copyscape Clear Date: 04.30.2012

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