If you visit a new dentist and have extensive work, such as multiple fillings, dental implants, or orthodontics, your dentist may want to come up with a dental treatment plan with you. Not all dentists offer in-depth, written treatment plans, and not all patients request them. However, the next time you get an oral examination, you should request an in-depth treatment plan and put in the effort to create one you will actually follow with your dentist.
What Is A Treatment Plan?
After your dentist assesses your medical and dental history, habits, and attitude towards dentistry, it is common to discuss which treatments you need or might want and then start on the most pressing treatments with your consent. A treatment plan is simply the written version of the oral explanation your dentist gives you. However, it often goes into more details, giving you prince ranges and potential dates for future treatments. Some dentists will write down the treatments you need and allow you to discuss prices and dates with the office receptionists. Other dentists will thoroughly go over the plan with you to make sure you plan for the most necessary work to get completed.
If you only have one or two cavities that can be fixed immediately or are just going in for an annual cleaning, you do not need a treatment plan. However, as soon as you get into procedures that take multiple visits, such as implants or root canals, you should get a treatment plan to help organize your calendar and your finances.
Using Treatment Plans to Budget Your Money and Time
Getting a dentist to give you a concrete price for a procedure can sometimes be difficult. Often, this is because a treatment can have a large price range based on how complicated your case is, and the dentist will not know the exact price until after they begin. However, most dental offices do have a standard price chart that can help you budget for various procedures.
If your dentist does not know the standard prices during your consultation, you should ask the receptionist to look them up for you. While you are discussing price information, be sure to ask about different payment plans and let the receptionist know how much you can afford to pay each month, as it may affect the order of your treatments.
Treatment plans also help you budget your time. Certain procedures, like implants, require multiple visits over many months. It is important that once you start a treatment, you are able to finish it, so your dentist needs to know if you will be traveling for an extended period of time or intend to become pregnant, which might interrupt treatment.
Using Treatment Plans to Properly Order Your Dental Work
If you have a missing tooth, you may know you want to get dental implants and go to the dentist for that specific treatment. However, if you later decide you would like to have your teeth straitened or whitened, you may have to replace the crown on your implant, which can be expensive.
While making a treatment plan, your dentist should discuss elective procedures with you as well as restorative procedures. Implants, bridges, and crowns are generally completed after or at the same time as cosmetic procedures. Root canals, extractions, and fillings usually have to be done before cosmetic procedures. Following the correct order for your dental work will save you time and money.
If you discuss extensive treatment with your dentist, and they do not offer to give you a treatment plan, you should not hesitate to ask for one. Both you and your dentist will appreciate the transparency and organization a treatment plan creates.