It’s 3 am and you’re too tired to floss your teeth. So you decide to just brush your teeth a second time for the day. You thought you could skip flossing that day, right? Wrong. According to US News, only 30 percent of the US population flosses daily. That is a surprising statistic considering flossing is a requirement by every dentist.
Preventative care and dental maintenance are crucial to keeping our teeth clean and healthy for the many years to come. While many dentists do refer patients to specialists for certain procedures, some of them have the expertise to perform additional complex services in-clinic that dental specialists would otherwise take care of.
It is the responsibility of dentists to know when it’s suitable to treat a patient and when to refer patients to a dental specialist.
The Aim of a Dental Referral
When patients are referred to dental specialists, it doesn’t imply that the referring dentist has a lack of interest in providing treatment. Rather, it reveals an abundance of caution and care on the referring dentist’s part.
When medical patients are experiencing gastrointestinal problems, they are referred to a gastroenterologist by their primary care doctor. However, they don’t stop visiting their primary care doctor for general or annual preventative visits. The same principle is applied in dentistry. When dental patients require a difficult extraction of wisdom teeth requiring sedation then we may consider referring our patient to a oral surgeon specializing in wisdom teeth extraction.
There are several reasons why referrals take place in dental practices today, which include the following:
1) Complex implant restorations are needed, such as those involving functional and cosmetic restorations
2) Denture patients are suffering from cognitive or neuromuscular deficits
3) When costs of providing care to a patient aren’t favorable to a general dentist
4) Care of multiple specialists is required for patient treatment
5) Patients are experiencing severe occlusal deficiencies
Significance of a Dental Referral for the Referring Dentist
There are some qualities that a referring dentist should require of a referred dentist when they recommend patients to seek oral health treatment outside their practice. These include but are not limited to the following:
1) Eager to work with the referring dentist to determine most suitable treatment plan for patient
2) Willing to inform the referring dentist regarding the treatment progress your patient is receiving and the patient’s progress at the referred dentist’s practice
3) Adequately qualified to perform required procedures
Referring you to a Dental Specialist isn’t something your primary dentist should take lightly. It’s also not something that they did without putting a whole lot of thought into it. In fact, it means that your dentist is putting your dental needs first and foremost and knows when to refer patients to a dental specialist. A dental specialist referral essentially means you will be getting the necessary care from a dentist who is specialized to meet your dental care and treatment needs. It could also mean you might be convinced to floss your teeth daily.