Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
It’s not unusual for dental insurance providers to require family dentists to provide referrals before they will cover expenses for specialized dental procedures. Obtaining a referral from your family dentist is not as complicated as you may think. While the process may vary slightly, here are some of the specifics of how your family dentist will go about issuing a referral.
It All Begins With a Dental Exam
Before your Mississauga family dentist will consider preparing a referral to a specialist, it’s necessary to conduct a thorough dental examination. The goal is to determine if the type of procedure you need falls under the heading of basic or general dentistry. If so, there’s a good chance your family dentist can manage the procedure without the aid of a specialist.
When the type of dental issue you have cannot be resolved using the methods normally employed by the family dentist, the professional will talk with you about referring the case to someone who has specific expertise with the type of problem that’s present.
Identifying the Type of Dental Work You Need
While your local family dentist can often determine the general nature of the dental issue, coming up with the exact course of treatment will be the province of the specialist. That’s why your dentist will focus more on the nature of the problem and not provide a lot of information about how the specialist will proceed.
You can expect the referral process to include details about what your dentist observed without making recommendations for a specific course of treatment. This is helpful to you, since there are no preconceptions about what the specialist will decide is best in your case.
Examining the List of Specialists Who Accept Your Dental Coverage
Unless you are prepared to pay for the procedure or treatment performed by the specialist out of pocket, it pays to make sure your dental insurance provider has a working relationship with the specialist suggested by your family dental clinic. This will keep payment arrangements less complicated and also give you a better idea of what sort of copay or deductible you will need to pay out of pocket on the day you see the specialist.
This is not as difficult as some may think. As a professional who is part of the provider’s approved network of dental professionals, your family dentist can also access a list of specialists who accept your coverage. That makes it all the easier to select one who practices in the area of dentistry that’s right for your condition, and also happens to accept the dental plan you currently use.
If there are several specialists in the area who accept the coverage, your family dentist may talk with you about each one, including where they happen to be located. This is helpful since you can ask the dentist to focus on the ones who happen to be located closer to your home or place of employment instead of across town.
Finding Out Who Can See You Sooner Rather Than Later
Depending on the nature of your dental issue, seeing a specialist sooner rather than later may be in your best interests. At this point, the team at the family dental clinic will make inquiries to determine which local specialist can see you in a relatively short period of time. While still attempting to find one who is as conveniently located as possible, the main focus of family dentists is on making sure you get the treatment needed without any delays.
Remember that your family dentist will make every effort to find someone who can see you within a reasonable amount of time. Depending on how many patients the specialist is already committed to seeing, it could be a matter of weeks or even months before the first available appointment date and time. When this happens, the team at the family dental clinic may ask if you would be able to see a specialist who has an office that’s a little further away but who could see you much sooner.
Making the Appointment on Your Behalf
Your Mississauga family dentist will arrange to make the appointment with the specialist on your behalf. As part of the referral process, you will be provided with the contact information for the specialist, the date and time of the appointment, and instructions to expect further details from the specialist’s office.
Along with providing you with the necessary details, your dentist will share relevant information with the specialist. This helps to form the basis for your patient chart and will save a lot of time when you show up for your appointment. As with any medical referral between two professionals, your dentist will only share information that the specialist requires. The rest of your dental history remains in the control of your family dental clinic.
Managing the Hard Copy Referral as Well as the Electronic Version
You will receive hard copies of the formal referral once all the arrangements are made. Your local family dentist may offer to share the data with you in the form of an email with the appropriate attachments. These will need to be taken along the day of your appointment with the specialist.
Remember that the specialist also receives copies of the referral in electronic as well as hard copy form. Your copies are helpful for confirming your identity when you arrive the day of the exam. It’s possible to save the documentation on your phone and pull it up for a quick check when you arrive at the specialist’s office.
The family dentist referral ensures that you see a professional who can help resolve whatever dental issue you are facing. Rest assured that the team at the family dental clinic wants to do whatever it takes to help you receive the care you need at this point in time. Once all the work is done and the follow up visits with the specialist are complete, you can resume seeing the family dentist for routine exams, teeth cleanings, and other forms of basic dental care.
Andrea Galick is an accomplished Dental Hygienist (RDH) with a passion for helping patients achieve optimal oral health. Andrea has built a reputation as a caring and skilled practitioner who puts her patients at ease and provides individualized care that meets their unique needs.