06 Apr What is a Dental Treatment Plan?
Most people are familiar with visiting the dentist once every six months or so for a check-up, but what happens when you are one of the thousands of Australian adults who need some sort of dental treatment each year?
In most cases, before treatment can be commenced, your Newcastle dentist will work with you to draw up a dental treatment plan.
At its simplest, the treatment plan identifies the work that you need in order to ensure that your teeth are in the best condition possible.
The treatment plan gives direction to your treatment, ensuring that each stage is completed in the correct order, to optimise results.
Here we take a look at what goes into a dental plan, why a plan is essential, and what to do if you’re not happy with the dental plan you’ve ended up with.
What are the stages of a dental treatment plan?
Initial assessment and diagnosis
In the first instance, the dentist will complete a number of tests and checks in order to see what, if any, treatment needs to be administered.
As well as a visual inspection of the teeth, the dentist may also take some X-rays, complete periodontal charting, and perform a check of the gums, jaw and oral area for signs of cancer and/or any other underlying conditions.
Explanation and treatment planning
Once your dentist has all the information needed to decide on what treatment is required, they will usually arrange for a separate appointment to discuss their findings, and describe the various treatment options that are available to you.
In many cases, there may be several different options, each with its own set of pros and cons.
At the assessment appointment, the dentist will go through each choice with you, giving you the information needed to make the decision that’s best for you.
Prioritising treatment types
Once the type of treatment that will be completed is agreed upon, the dentist will draw up an appropriate implementation timetable, prioritising urgent treatment, with other treatment arranged further down the line.
If it’s necessary for part of your treatment plan, the dentist will also refer you on to other professionals (for example an orthodontist).
Appointment timing and setting
With the treatment order agreed, the plan will set out what will be achieved at each appointment, and an appropriate timescale for treatment.
For example, if an implant is planned, time needs to be allowed for healing in between each stage.
On-going evaluation and review
The treatment plan is a documented plan which may be subject to revision and review, depending on the changing needs and wishes of the patient as they go through the treatments.
What are the benefits of a dental treatment plan?
– A plan ensures that treatment is carried out in a methodical way.
– The treatment plan is agreed upon by both patient and dentist, minimising the risk of ambiguity when it comes to issues of consent moving forward with treatment.
– With around three in ten adults delaying or refusing dental care due to money concerns, a plan is also a helpful budgeting tool to maximise the chances of affording appropriate care.
– For eligible individuals, the treatment plan can be used as the basis to claim back the costs of some dental care.