Ensure your patients receive the best dental care.
As a dentist, your main job is to detect tooth decay, fix it, and advise your patients on how to take good care of their teeth and gums for better overall health.
Over the years, as you’ve seen countless patients, you’ve probably noticed one thing: many of them also have issues with bites and occlusion. Because of this, you usually refer them to a trusted orthodontist within your network.
However, it may serve your patients well if you started offering orthodontics in addition to general dentistry at your practice.
Why? Here are 6 great reasons why adding orthodontics will benefit your patients.
1. There is no need for referrals.
Most patients lead very busy lives, which means they don’t have much room for change. This is especially true if it’s unnecessary.
Typically, if a patient needed orthodontic care, you’d give them a referral. They’d then have to research this new practice on their own, give them a call, and schedule an appointment. They’ll also have to note where the new practice is and how to get there.
Having to get to know a new location and practice can be a hassle, and not to mention, tiring. Being referred out of a practice can be hard, especially if your patients have anxiety surrounding change.
Most referrals also involve some lapse of time before a patient can be seen at a new practice. This is assuming the orthodontist is even taking new patients. If not, then your patients will have to get another referral from you and repeat this whole process.
When you keep your patients within your practice for both general dentistry and orthodontics, you’re saving them a lot of trouble. Not only can they get quicker appointments, but they also don’t have to learn a new practice or doctor. Instead, they can continue going to a familiar place without extra hassle.
2. Patients escape decision-making fatigue.
Today’s society is faced with more choices than ever before. While it might seem like a good thing, the reality is, many of us are faced with decision-making fatigue. From how we want our coffee and sandwiches to which doctors or specialists we see, we have many decisions to make at all times of the day.
Chances are, your patients are exhausted from having to make these choices, and it’s taking a toll on their mental health.
You might have a reputable orthodontist in mind who you trust to take care of your patients. But when you refer your patients to another medical professional, you’re putting the burden of care onto the patients themselves.
They’ll have to decide for themselves whether or not they want to go through with the referral. And if they do go ahead with it, they’ll have to then decide whether or not it’s worth it to stay with that orthodontist or find another.
Give your patients some relief from decision-making fatigue by significantly shortening the decision-making chain and offering orthodontics at a place they’ve been to before, with a dentist they’re familiar with.
3. They don’t have to navigate to a new location.
Whether they’re new or regulars, patients already know where your practice is. They’ve learned the best route to get there, as well any alternative routes should anything out of the blue happen.
When you refer them to an orthodontist, this forces them to break out of familiar routines. Not only do they have to figure out how to get to the new location, but they’ll also have to dedicate more time and resources than usual to ensure they arrive at their appointments on time. This presents a highly inconvenient situation.
Also, 80% of those who need orthodontic treatment are aged 6 to 18. This means it’s very likely that many of your younger patients need orthodontic care.
Their parents may have chosen you as their general dentist so they don’t need to drive all over town to get dental care. But when some family members are referred to an orthodontist, this means an additional location to learn to navigate to.
Because most orthodontic patients are minors, this means their parents will need to help them get to and from their appointments. These busy adults will have to find out where this new practice is. And in some cases, it’ll be in a less convenient place than your practice is.
By offering orthodontics at your dental practice, your patients can keep coming to your convenient location and receive the extra dental services they need.
4. Patients don’t need to get to know a new doctor.
In addition to having to navigate to a new location, your patients will have to get to know a new doctor as well. These two factors can put a lot of unnecessary stress on someone, which can discourage them from getting the dental care they need.
Also, just because an orthodontist is good on paper doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get along with every patient they come across. This is only natural and to be expected, as everyone’s personality is different.
So while you may have dependable colleagues with great reputations, they may not be the best options for your patients. This means they might have to get to know multiple orthodontists before they’re happy and comfortable with one.
By offering orthodontics at your practice, you can eliminate this potentially long and arduous task. Your patients are already familiar with you and know what to expect of you, so there will be no surprises if they receive orthodontic treatment from you.
5. There’s no transfer of medical records.
The more medical professionals that are involved in a patient’s care, the more paperwork is involved. For example, when you refer a patient to an orthodontist, your assistants must perform the correct administrative work to ensure that the patient’s files are transferred to the new practice.
When medical records exchange hands, there’s always the chance that things may not go accordingly, even if it’s in digital form. Should paper or digital files get lost, this can delay treatment for the patient, as the orthodontist will have to wait for them to be resent.
In the medical field, 30% of tests are reordered because the results can’t be found. In addition, 86% of the mistakes made are administrative. As you can see, there’s a lot of room for error.
Even if the medical records do manage to make it to the new practice on time, there’s also the chance that crucial pieces of information are missing from the files. This can create extra work for both the patient and orthodontist, as the patient will have to “fill in the blanks” and the orthodontist will have to take down all this information.
When you’re able to offer orthodontics at your practice, all files stay in one place and are easily accessible, as there’s no new system to be learned by anyone. When you move from general dental treatment to orthodontics for a patient, it’ll be seamless, as you’ll have instant access to their medical records.
6. Patients get better care.
By adding orthodontic knowledge to your repertoire, it actually enables you to take better care of your patients. The more you can broaden your scope from general dentistry, the more you’ll be able to get a better picture of your patients’ oral health. Building on your orthodontics knowledge means you build on your ability to pinpoint exactly what kind of care your patients need.
For instance, some occlusion problems are subtle and might be missed early on. But if you’ve been through something like a wire orthodontics course, then you’ll be able to recognize Class I and Class II malocclusions before they get serious. This allows you to get your patients preventative treatment instead of going through more extensive and expensive treatment in the future.
In addition, if you do need to refer your patients to another orthodontist for further care, you must know enough about the field to confidently know the limits of your expertise. Having some orthodontic training can help you make these calls better.
Consider adding orthodontics to your practice.
Many Americans need orthodontics in addition to general dental care. By offering these services at your practice, you can increase your case acceptance and serve your patients in the best way possible.
Also, adding orthodontics doesn’t just benefit your patients. Your practice will reap several benefits too.
As you can see, taking the time to get your orthodontics certification is a win-win situation for all parties involved. So enroll in an orthodontics course, get your certification, and better serve your patients for the foreseeable future.
Are you interested in expanding your knowledge and practice? Then sign up for a general dentistry orthodontics course now.