Two Fundamentals That Make the Difference
I would be remiss if I didn’t at the very least emphasize a fundamental that I believe that the periodontist can and should strive for, and that is full diagnosis and sequential treatment planning. There is, in my opinion, a very great need for doctors who achieve that level of competence.
The term, “treatment planning,” has different definitions, so let me give you mine. It is the full and complete treatment plan. This means full restorative and prosthodontic treatment planning. It includes buildups, crowns, leveling the curve of Spee, and minor restorations complete with surfaces.  It includes orthodontic and endodontic treatment planning as well. And of course, it includes the periodontal treatment plan,  sequenced as a part of the overall treatment plan. While we may rely on others to plan and execute their portion of the treatment,  the desired goal and the coordination of the sequential steps in achieving that goal ideally fall upon the periodontist. It is, in other words, full and complete responsibility for the entire case. In my opinion, this is a key to restoring our profession.
Full and sequential treatment planning with singular responsibility to assure that the treatment is done (and done correctly) is the key to the successful completion of the complex case. Are there others who could take that responsibility? The answer is yes.
But make no mistake about it. If treatment planning, full treatment planning, is something that someone else does, and if you know in your heart of hearts that it is the wrong way to go, and  you don’t want to tick off the referral source, then the patient suffers and the profession suffers. But if you,  based upon your knowledge and expertise,  set the guidelines, set the treatment plan, you increase your level of responsibility, take better control of the case, and increase the viability of periodontics.
And for any doubters, we do more comprehensive periodontal treatment on the way to overall treatment of the complex case than we did as a large referral practice . This includes periodontal procedures and dental implants.  We also see more periodontal second opinions, more of everything periodontal as a result of patients seeking me as a Director of Dentistry.
While treatment planning as above is important, I’ll tell you what I find to be more important. It has nothing to do with dentistry and it has everything to do with patient attraction and with treatment acceptance. It has everything to do with makingmaking every day enjoyable. It has everything to do with a successful practice. What is it? It is keeping the tone level positive in our office. A high toned office has some laughter. A high toned office has cooperation. A high toned office has no gossip,  and yes, no excuses. If a person makes a mistake, and we all do, the staff member and even the doctor looks not at blame, but looks at what we could have done to make the situation better. A high toned office is one of compliments and one of positive reinforcement. A high toned office flows. A high toned office not only attracts new patients, it attracts staff members as well.  And most importantly, a high toned office increases case acceptance and increases patients referring other patients.
If you want to know what my office manager, Danyel, considers to be the most important part of her job,  it is Keeper of the Tone Level. We all slip and when we do slip,  she is on top of it.  She knows that a brief slip in tone level unchecked will continue to run downhill. Catch it early and everyone has the best chance of having a great day.
A high tone level has far reaching effects. It takes a fearful patient and puts him or her more at ease. It helps that patient to better see the overwhelming benefits over the risks of treatment. It increases the patient’s confidence that spending his or her hard-earned money with you is the best thing to do.
You see it here as well. Notice how you respond to high toned thoughts on this blog as opposed to negative and critical thoughts. What are you most attracted to?
A full treatment plan and a high toned environment…a pure winner.
Coming up next: How you can improve your value to your patients