When it comes to choices about care, the more involved a patient is in the decision making process, the more likely the patient will understand and accept treatment. That’s why we spend more time with our patients.
A general dentist alone cannot always solve some of the more complex oral or facial problems from which a patient may suffer. Traditionally, a general dentist simply refers these cases to a trusted specialist, or several specialists when one cannot deal with all aspects of a complex problem. This multidisciplinary approach to patient care provides more knowledge and experience than a dentist working in isolation. Often times with this approach information travels between the dentist and the specialists with little collaboration between them or the patient.
We take an interdisciplinary team approach to patient care, focusing on open communication between the primary dentist, the specialists and the patient, including the patient in the process as a member of the team. The patient is intimately involved in discussions about their treatment plan, offering them better understanding of their options and empowering them to actively participate in the development of the final therapy.
The beauty of collaborative work is that everyone can offer each other advice and build on each others ideas. Rather than passing down orders, team members can ask for input and suggestions. Learning about alternative treatments and options allows us to increase the level of patient care, in terms of both the final outcome and the process itself.
Each specialist of the interdisciplinary team is selected based on their area of expertise and the desired outcomes for the patient. The ultimate goal is to create and maintain an ideal treatment environment in which the patient feels comfortable and the doctors can work effectively.
Open lines of communication reduce stress and confusion for all members of the team, including the patient. Clear expectations of the intended treatment outcome are built into the interdisciplinary team’s framework. As a result, and by its very nature, this approach allows for better efficiency and a healthier treatment outcome.
Members of our team meet at the beginning to discuss the patient’s diagnosis and treatment plan together. During treatment, the team members participate in periodic scheduled meetings as well as informal discussions to review the patient’s progress and adjust the plan, if necessary.
By including the patient in the development of their treatment plan, they cultivate personal relationships with us and the specialists. Trust grows from these relationships and the patient feels that he or she is an active, respected member of the team.