I’m getting some pushback from my team about the way I diagnose and recommend treatment. My practice has three dentists and we’re all scheduled out for months. I know they see the other dentists recommending a crown for an old alloy in the tooth, but when I do an exam I say “Everything looks great!” Sure if I see decay, I recommend a restoration. But for me, my schedule is booked out so far that that old alloys are going to have to wait. How do I get my team to understand this?
Hmm- while I do understand your desire to triage patients so that your schedule doesn’t completely overwhelm you, your solution has some potential negative consequences. Telling patients they look great when there are issues, only kicks this problem down the road. Sooner or later, these patients will be back in your office and they may want to understandably know why you didn’t recommend treatment when it was a smaller problem. This approach doesn’t help raise your patients’ dental IQ or increase their value for dentistry. I also suspect it is demoralizing for your clinical team to hear you downplaying the need for intervention and contradicting their clinical judgments.
So, I can understand why you’re getting pushback and I would encourage you to find a way to balance the needs of all of your patients within the realities of your schedule. I suggest you meet with the team and together work out a process for patients who don’t need to come in immediately but who should nevertheless get on the schedule for future treatment. Then your verbiage with patients will be more honest and transparent. “Patient, I’m seeing an old alloy which we do need to take care of before it causes you some problems. This is not an immediate emergency so we’re going to schedule you for it in 4-6 months when you come back for your hygiene appointment. This will mean one less trip for you and one less thing for you to worry about in the future.”