Blow the Roof off ‘Usual and Customary’ Dentistry, Part I By Dr. Tom “The Gems Guy” Orent
need $20,000 in dental care — you’d send new patients running to the hills. More often than not, dentists choose one or two teeth to treat cuz it’s easier than trying to convince an asymptomatic patient they need five figures’ worth of care. The patients seem happy, the practice still has recurring revenue, and you can keep the doors open another month. In the last issue, we discussed Gems’ mission: “Together we are dedicated to improving the health and longevity of 3,000,000 people, one smile at a time.” If we were to treat one tooth at a time rather than focusing on the overall best possible care for our patients, we would never accomplish our mission. BLAME THE ABSENCE OF SYMPTOMS Compromised care isn’t your fault. In addition to the meddling from managed care insurance, we also have to overcome a significant challenge every time we plan and discuss treatment… the fact that 95 percent of the care our patients truly need is CARE NEEDED in the ABSENCE of SYMPTOMS. Common issues indicative of stomatognathic deterioration often go untreated. Pathologic occlusion, muscle tenderness, excessive anterior wear facets, and posterior enamel wear are frequently missed. Many patients have even worn through their enamel into dentin. We must intervene. The good news is that you have proven-effective Gems at your fingertips to help you help patients… asymptomatic patients... perceive the immediate need for care. Accept recommended care. Site map GG12 Monthly Team Training Toolkit: “058 & 059 Worn Enamel Recognize and Treat Pathologic Occlusion, Add $50,000 to $100,000 Per Year, Part I & II” These two episodes offer you a gold mine of opportunity. My longtime friend and colleague, Dr. Buddy Mopper, InsidersCircle.com | 1-888-880-GEMS (4367) 1 Continued on page 2...
It’s time we REJECT “usual and customary” dentistry as “good enough.” The state of care in our profession is deteriorating because we’ve allowed it to be contingent upon (our perception of) our patients’ financial capabilities. Insurance companies set what they deem “usual, customary, and reasonable (UCR) fees” based on some FICTICIOUS number they pick out of a hat and then tell our patients it’s the norm in your zip code. Employers choose to pay for dental insurance plans with maximum limits capable of covering next to nothing. Meanwhile, we have real patients with real problems. It’s our obligation to rise above the usual and customary and deliver the extraordinary. We can only do that if we stop approaching dentistry from a reactive position and re- establish a doctor-patient relationship that fosters the level of trust necessary to help patients achieve optimal health. OBSTACLES TO RENDERING BEST-OPTION CARE What are some of the most common reasons patients don’t accept (reject) recommendations for care? Lack of money, insufficient time, fear of treatment. The absence of symptoms, and of course… the insurance quagmire. But what if insurance considerations, time, money, and fear were magically removed from the equation? What would be the best possible care for your patients’ long- term health? While this sounds great in theory, putting this into practice is more difficult in the real world. Many dentists are still delivering “one-tooth dentistry”… in the face of the (perceived) stranglehold of “Doc, just do what my insurance covers.” When a patient comes in for a checkup or cleaning, it’s much easier for them to accept that one tooth is a problem because insurance usually only covers $1,000–$1,500 a year. No one wants to hear that they
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