Referrals Between Dentists, Specialists, and Others
General dentists and specialists must work together and communicate with each other in order to successfully treat their patients’ oral health (Levin 2013). Even though some general dentists want to do every treatment for their patients, specialists, such as orthodontists and endodontists, perform procedures that general dentists cannot provide for their patients (Knowles 2014; Workman 2016). Dentists’ referrals to specialists benefit patients because they undergo a specific treatment necessary for their oral health (Workman 2016). Meanwhile, specialists gain more business from these patients (Workman 2016). Specialists, cosmetologists, estheticians, physical therapists, medical doctors, general dentists, etc. can also recommend other dentists to other patients, helping them gain more business (Carter 2009; Henny 2007). Referrals help not only patients undergo treatments from dentists with certain skillsets, but also many dentists earn more income from these referrals.
Dentists and specialists need to develop their working relationships in order to ensure that they can refer patients to each other for their practice’s financial success. Dentists could find potential referrals from training institutes’ study clubs, which “are both collaborative learning environments and great networking opportunities that include specialists” (Henny 2007). Dentists could also find referrals via provider lists from their local hospital credentialing offices, managed care organizations, and Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon friends (Carter 2009). Dentists could convince people, such as specialists and medical doctors, and their employees to refer patients to their practice by conveying what they could give to their community, such as “technology or services unique to [their] practice…” (Carter 2009).
Dentists can provide the referring dentist more information about them with brochures and their websites, convincing him or her to refer patients to them (Carter 2009). Dentists and specialists should also develop their working relationships along with their employees by scheduling events that bring them together at a restaurant or the dentist’s office in order to “foster camaraderie, familiarity, and above all, trust” (Berman 2017). When working together, dentists and specialists must regularly communicate with each other about the patients’ case (Henny 2007). For instance, dentists should send to the specialist letters, clinical photographs, radiographs, feedback, etc., while specialists should talk to them about their concerns regarding the dentists’ treatment plan (Henny 2007; Berman 2017). Dentists and specialists should also show appreciation to each other in order to further solidify their relationship. For instance, esthetic restorative dentists should show photographs of successful procedures that specialists performed for the dentists’ treatment plans (Henny 2007). Then, the specialists “can show [the photographs to] others” so that they can attract more patients (Henny 2007).
For specialists, they should praise the referring dentists’ high-quality work on crowns and veneers to their patients (Berman 2017). By doing so, when these patients inform their dentist about the specialist’s compliment, the dentist could keep referring patients to the specialist (Berman 2017).
Referrals aid patients in obtaining necessary procedures for their teeth, while the referred dentists gain more income from these patients. Dentists must collaborate with each other to help patients and earn more revenue.
Berman, Louis H. “The making of a successful referral-based practice.” Dental Economics,
March 1, 2017. https://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-107/issue-3/practice/the-making-of-a-successful-referral-based-practice.html.
Carter, Jill K. “Marketing 101: Relationships and Referrals.” DentistryiQ, November 5, 2009.
Henny, Paul A. “Enhancing Referrals From Specialists.” Dental Economics, July 1, 2007.
Knowles, Lisa L. “General recommendations for the general practitioner regarding endodontic
referrals.” DentistryiQ, April 11, 2014. https://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2014/04/general-recommendations-for-the-general-practitioner-regarding-endodontic-referrals.html.
Levin, Roger P. “Strengthening the patient referral process.” DentistryiQ, July 3, 2013.
Workman, Rick. “How the entire industry benefits when general dentists and specialists work
more closely.” Dental Economics, March 22, 2016. https://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-106/issue-3/science-tech/how-the-entire-industry-benefits-when-general-dentists-and-specialists-work-more-closely.html.