How Specialists Build Relationships with Referring Dentists

January 18, 2017    By Becky Sheetz ()

How Specialists Build Relationships with Referring Dentists

Regardless of the type of dentistry you practice, you have almost certainly noticed that the relationship between the referring dentist and the specialist continues to change. Your first thought when you think about these changes may be the shift toward family dentists’ performing more expansive procedures, such as implants and additional cosmetic procedures, in-house. You probably think about the shift toward “corporate dentistry,” and you probably have an opinion about that trend.

But these aren’t the only changes.

We’re talking about the evolving relationship from the days when the dental specialist was seen as a subcontractor to the contemporary relationship of a more collaborative partner. Patients today expect impeccable communication between the family dentist and the specialist. Anything less will cause them to raise questions about communication skills and attention to detail. And importantly, it may even cause them uneasiness with regard to their treatment—just about the last thing any dentist wants!

Patients have very high expectations today, and they expect both teams of dentists to live up to those. They expect an expert interaction between the specialist and family dentist. If they don’t get it, they may look for another provider. Unless you specifically tell them, the patient won’t know if you’ve worked with a family dentist for decades or if this is your first opportunity. Patients want to trust that you have been long-time partners. Millenials will check your history with the push of a button.

Be relationship focused
If you’re a specialist, hopefully your practice has processes in place to ensure that smooth and accurate communications flow between your office and the referring dentist. Take seriously any concerns the practice or your patients express. We recommend that dentists go the extra mile of including, as part of their processes, periodical touch-points with all referring providers to ensure they’re pleased with your office’s communications and treatment. It’s far better to learn of an issue and correct it than to lose patients and never know why.

Stay in touch
Professional referral-generating newsletters are the method many dental specialists use to stay in touch with their colleagues. This useful and timely educational content represents a valuable and appreciated opportunity to keep your practice in front of your general dental partner. For example, it’s easy to market your practice to perios with Periodontics Report.

These relationships are essential. Instead of hoping a new dental contact will result in patients or crossing their proverbial fingers that their top referring dentists continue the patient flow, savvy endodontists actively work to build and maintain these essential relationships with a dental referral newsletter, such as Endodontics Newsletter.

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