Ideally, patients who need more extensive treatment should return to the practice within one week for an appointment to discuss treatment options. Patients who have already made that first appointment are motivated to proceed with the care they need.
If too much time goes by before they are reappointed, it is less likely that they will come back, even when the treatment is necessary to restore their oral health.
- Have the patient sign the treatment plan. That document indicates the patient understands what you’re recommending and why. It does not obligate them to proceed with treatment.
- Once the patient agrees to treatment, your documenter (financial coordinator/treatment coordinator/business assistant) should go over the financial details with the patient in private, such as in a consult room. This discussion should not take place while the patient is in the dental chair because it is often a stressful situation. Some states may have specific rules regarding the manner and privacy of financial discussions; refer to your state’s laws for specifics.
Information about patient financing of treatment is covered in detail in the Guidelines for Practice Success (GPS) Managing Finances module.