There are many situations in your dental practice when it may be appropriate for you to present your patients with more than one treatment option. For example, if a patient needs a tooth extracted, they may have the option of a bridge or an implant to replace the extracted tooth. Or, if a patient has a tooth with deep decay, you may present them with a treatment plan to restore the tooth with a root canal and crown, or to have an extraction.

In either case, it’s always important to have a record of every treatment option you present to the patient including detailed notes about treatment discussions you have with them. The Dentrix Treatment Planner can help you keep track of all of this information.

When presenting your patients with treatment options, it’s important to advise them of all options available to them. Spend time educating your patients on the pros and cons of each treatment option as well as consequences of not proceeding with any treatment at all.

First, enter all treatment-planned procedures into the Patient Chart and organize the procedures into separate cases in the Treatment Planner. You can use linked cases and alternate cases in Dentrix to present different treatment options.

Once you’ve answered all the patient’s clinical questions about their treatment options, print each treatment case for the treatment options. Then you can discuss insurance estimates and patient estimates. Sometimes, this will be the deciding factor in which treatment options the patient chooses. You can offer financing options to make treatment more affordable, and make cost less of a factor in their decision.

Once the patient has decided which treatment option to proceed with, update the case status to Accepted. When you update the case status to Accepted, any linked or alternate cases will automatically have their case status set to Rejected. Whenever you change a case’s status, a window will appear where you can make a case status note.

This is very important, because the case status note is where you can explain why the patient chose one treatment option over another (such as when a patient chooses to extract a tooth instead of restoring with a root canal and crown due to cost). When you use case statuses in this way, you still have a record of the rejected case in Dentrix and the case status note explaining the patient’s decision. That way, if the patient returns to your office a year later, unhappy because they have a missing tooth and are having problems with other teeth due to the missing tooth, you will be able to easily access all of the treatment plans you presented and all case status notes regarding conversations with them about those options they rejected.

Make sure you are using the Dentrix Treatment Planner to create treatment cases and present your patients with treatment options. It’s always important to advise your patients of all available treatment options and can keep record of not only those treatment cases that were accepted but the rejected treatment plans as well. Use the case status notes to record why your patient rejected a case so you can refer to that information later, if needed.

The best part is, all of this information is located in the Treatment Planner, so you don’t have to search for it in different Dentrix modules, which makes it more efficient for your office.

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By Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at [email protected].