Dental Specialists on Your Team

By: Rubana S Masood DDS, MS, BA

When it comes to comprehensive dental treatment planning, teamwork makes the dream work.  With our patients’ ever increasing needs and the new advancements daily, dental specialists can serve an important role as a part of your practice. Dental specialists can help your patients receive the highest level of care and allow you to focus on your favorite procedures.  

Solid working relationships with your specialists are important, whether they are in-house clinicians, travelers, or otherwise part of the local dental community.  By having multiple providers per speciality, you can refer your patients to providers that fit their unique needs.

Working with dental specialists who share your philosophy will help your patients receive the care you have envisioned for them. As a referring provider, you can ensure your patient receives the best care by following a few key points. 

Case Selection

Choose cases that are within your skill set and that you can complete predictably in your office. Be ready for any complications before, during, or after the procedure. If a case is beyond what you could predictably offer to your patient, consider referring your patient to a specialist. 

Dental specialists not only have additional training and experience, but may also have additional equipment that makes treatment more predictable for the patient.  The team at the specialist’s office is often prepared to handle specific clinical and nonclinical situations that may arise.  Consider what is best for your patient’s unique needs when referring a case to a specialist dentist. 

Steps to Working with Dental Specialists on Your Case

1. Communication 

Clear communication is key to the success of your patients’ treatment. Streamline communication with specialists’ offices by having a designated point of contact for each of your referrals.  

Communicate with your specialist about case specifics before the scheduled treatment day to ensure the best experience for your patients. 

2. Established Protocols

Establish an office protocol for sharing X-rays, photos, and models related to patient care.  Coordinate with your patients for any additional information needed for treatment by the specialist. 

If your specialist visits your office, have an established protocol for the day, including equipment and materials. There should be a clear understanding of what the home office provides and what the specialist provides for patient care. 

3. Post Operative Care

Will your patient be seeing you, or your specialist team, for post operative care?

If you are seeing the patient for post operative care, then your specialist should leave you clear instructions. Be familiar with their general post operative protocol so you can handle minor complications.

If there are concerns, then take diagnostic X-rays and intraoral images to share with your specialist to get your patients feeling better ASAP! 

Expand Your Skills to Refer Less Often

Want to refer less? Expand your skills set with quality continuing education courses.

There are continuing education courses for all phases of dentistry, ranging from didactic to hands-on patient care. Consider what procedures your patients need and what procedures you enjoy. Seek advice from your mentors on the best courses to help you expand your skill set for your patients. Find your support network through organizations and your local community to help you with your first cases. Choose your cases wisely and know your limits to best serve your patients needs.  

Dentistry is an exciting, ever expanding field. Dental specialists can help our patients receive the highest standard of care and the best prognosis. Build your dental team to include specialists and watch your (dental) dreams work! 

Rubana Masood

Rubana Masood, DDS, MS is a general dentist creating beautiful smiles Los Angeles, California. Her practice philosophy centers around on minimally invasive dentistry to help patients achieve the smiles they deserve. Outside the operatory, Rubana is interested on wellness and  finding way to integrate new principles into the hectic dental lifestyle.

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