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Why Do Dentists Refer Patients for Specialized Care?

It is the duty of every dentist to know when it’s appropriate to treat a patient and when to refer them to a specialist. The dental care industry has undergone a major transformation in the past years that has enabled the providers to deliver a more value driven experience to their patients. General dentists only perform a variety of procedures that are suited to their skill levels and preference of treatment. They play an integral role as the first point of contact and provide quality dental care that is within the scope of their training, expertise, and experience. Most specialize in the general oral care and selective restorative and emergency procedures. For more specialized care that is not within their expertise, they will refer the patients to dental specialists to ensure the best result for the patient. The motivation behind coordinating therapy among various experts in specific fields of dental medicine is to adequately support the patient’s overall dental health care while maintaining the highest standards in the industry.

Purpose of Referral
When faced with complex prosthetic situations for isolated problems or more comprehensive care, general dentists will refer patients to a carefully selected team of specialists within their local area for the highest level of care regardless of their needs. Most general dentists have a great relationship with area specialists they can refer with absolute confidence when necessary. Clear transparency is maintained between the dentists, specialists and the patients resulting in better clinical outcomes. The collaborative and close working relationship with the general dentists and specialists makes it easier for patients to get the care they need.


Patients can conveniently get access to specialty care in different fields like endodontic, orthodontics, oral surgery, pediatrics, periodontics or prosthodontics. Therefore, if your teeth are excessively damaged and require extensive cosmetic work, your dentist will refer you to a cosmetic dentist for in-depth treatment. Patients with critical medical conditions also benefit from the specialized referral dental care. Referral setting also allows dentists to focus on their areas of expertise while giving them an opportunity to collaborate with other specialists on cases for improved learning and professional growth.

The Referral Process
When referring a patient to a specialist, dentists are required to transfer records and provide an initial referral report giving information about the patient’s condition. Information relating to treatment offered, copies of diagnosis performed, diagnosis and prognosis and the desired specialized care to be given are required to enable the specialist to come up with the best treatment plan. Dentists may consider contacting the specialist personally and setting the appointment on the patient’s behalf. Effective communication is maintained to ensure the referral process is completed in a timely manner. The dentist will remain in contact with everyone to facilitate the process for effective outcomes.


The patient deserves the best possible dental care. It’s important that dentists work collaboratively with specialists to provide them with practical treatment options that bring beneficial results. As a patient, you have the right to know why you are being referred to a particular specialist and what to expect from the entire referral process. Your dentist will receive a final report at the end of the treatment with the suggestions for maintenance, follow-up or recommendation for further treatment. You can be rest assured that everything will be elaborately coordinated to avoid duplication of procedures.


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…Treat Others As You Would Have Them Treat You … Matthew 7:12