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When should dentists make a referral?
Building a network of dental specialists is important for a general dentist practice because this enables them to provide support for their patients in situations they may otherwise be limited. For example, the following scenarios are good examples of reasons to refer to an endodontist:
- Complicated root canal treatments – an endodontist will have access to the latest training, technology, and equipment to treat patients with complicated root canal needs efficiently and comfortably.
- Emergency root canal surgery – because of their specialty, endodontists can often be more accommodating when scheduling emergency cases, preventing treatment delays so patients are relieved of pain and discomfort as quickly as possible.
- Apicoectomy surgery – Endodontists have the advanced training and experience necessary to perform these specialized surgeries in an efficient and effective manner
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Once treatment has been provided by the endodontists, a record of treatment should be provided to the general dentist and follow-up care can then be given by either the endodontist or the general dentist. Either way, the patient has peace of mind that both professionals have a complete dental history file and can provide collaborative care and support during the follow-up restoration phase and into the future.
Referring Patients to an Endodontist
There is no question that the dental care industry in the United States is shifting. Thanks to changes in federal healthcare, private insurance practices, and consumer habits, the future of dentistry is in flux and it is more important than ever before for dentists to understand and adapt to these industry trends.
According to a 2013 report prepared for the American Dental Association by Diringer and Associates, health care consumers are more informed than ever about their dental care choices and often rank value over price when it comes to selecting services. Thanks to the immeasurable amount of information available online, consumers are better educated about their care needs and are poised to make well-informed decisions about their dental services.
Consumers are seeking dental care providers who will deliver a more value-driven experience. Patients want dental care providers who offer a range of services within their own office or within a carefully selected team of specialists. Furthermore, today’s consumer society understands the benefits of specialization more than ever before and as a result, patients expect the highest level of care. Building a comprehensive cooperative of care specialists brings value to a dental practice because patients have peace of mind that they will receive the best care no matter what their needs are. The dentist plays an integral role as the first point of contact for patients and a trustworthy referral source. When a general dentist determines that a higher level of service can be achieved by a specialist, the patient can trust that the referral is in their best interest and will appreciate the collaborative care practices provided by the general dentist and an endodontic specialist.