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Recommending sealants

My office is wanting to increase sealant placement. They have asked us to inform the patient of areas that will likely need sealants and go over a financial agreement with them for sealants prior to the dr ever meeting the patient. I feel as though is diagnosing treatment. They are telling me it is not diagnosing because the treatment hasn’t been completed. What are your thoughts on this? And how should is situation be handled?



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In my opinion, I don’t see anything wrong with informing a patient that they are a candidate for sealants before the doctor does his/her exam. It gives you a chance to explain the preventive nature of sealants, means you are the preventive specialist in the office. It may also help with compliance if a patient hears the recommendation from 2 providers. Like you mentioned, as long as they aren’t placed before the doctor does an exam (definitive diagnosis) and checks for decay, it should be fine. Now if you go over your whole reason for sealants, then the doctor comes in and all of those teeth have decay and sealants aren’t actually an option, that would be a huge waste of time. So I do see your concern here. If that starts happening, you will have to have a conversation with the doctor about protocol and how to fix the problem.
 
I do see an issue with you being the one going over financials and billing. If the front office wants to have an insurance breakdown for the patient (ready before the patient’s appointment) so you can give them general prices that seems fine, but when it comes down to the details I feel that the front office should do that. For instance, I worked for a doctor that when a patient would ask how much would such and such be, even though he knew the answer, he would always refer to the front office to keep him being the provider and them being the billing specialists. It worked out quite well because lines were not blurred. This also allowed the patient to get the most accurate information because the front office can look up how much of their dental benefits have been used, what is covered, etc. You simply don’t have time for that, as your job is to treat patients. Nor do you want to give the patient incorrect information, that doesn’t help with your credibility nor the office’s credibility.
 
Change is always hard, but as long as you are giving recommendations based on patient need and not based on what insurance covers it’s a win for the patient. As long as everyone in the office does their part and is open to tweaks in office protocol to make the change as smooth as possible for everyone involved, including the patient, it’s worth giving it a try with an open mind. Good luck!

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