The technology and treatment options for consumers of dental care have greatly improved over the last 20 years. The new dentistry now provides you with the opportunity of maintaining your natural teeth throughout your life. One of the ways this is accomplished is by referral to a dental specialist to treat specific dental problems.
When dentists refer you to a specialist, your understanding of the problem and decision for treatment is vital in determining a specialized dental plan. The plan for your dental health and your general dentist's overall goals often depend on these specialized resources.
When you are referred to a dental specialist, he or she becomes a part of your dental team. Although your specialist will give you information about the reasons for the referral and the treatment, there are also some active steps you can take to increase your participation in the dentistry treatment and healing process.
A query of dental specialists indicates that there are some questions that they would like you to ask to enhance the treatment outcomes they seek as a result of your dental plan. Answers to the following questions will often augment the information provided by your general dentist and enable you to clarify any further questions you may have about the specialized treatment you are receiving.
- What is the cause of the condition that you are treating?
- What treatment gives you the best overall outcome and how will it help you?
- What can you do after treatment to help the healing process?
- What can you do to control the condition in the future or make sure it doesn't happen again?
These four questions will help you gain insight into the disease process that led to the need for dental care treatment and the prevention and self-care measures you can incorporate into your life to avoid future problems. With this information, you can also work with your general dentist and the dental team to maintain your dental health plan.
Specialized dental care for your dental needs is one of the ways the new dentistry has brought innovations in diagnosis and treatment to benefit consumers.
By Brian DesRoches, PhD