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Treatment Plan Coordinator (TPC) – WHY does every dental office need one?

Lab Management

Treatment plan coordinators have worked in every dental office I have ever managed or consulted for. They are an exceptional part of growing your dental practice and levels of trust and loyalty amongst your patients. Conventionally Treatment plan coordinators are dental assistants who are terrific communicators, outgoing, detailed and personalities people are immediately drawn to. They understand all aspects of dental procedures from Crown and Bridge to Implant workflows including implant parts and available systems.

To allow a Treatment Plan Coordinator to nail down the needs of a patient as well as communicate the treatment plan written out by the dentist many tools are required.

  • Intraoral photos of the upper and lower arch with close ups of the teeth in question
  • Facial photos full face and from the side
  • Intraoral impressions or study models
  • Xrays of each tooth in question and a Panorex or CBCT
  • Written treatment plan confirmed by the dentist . Sometimes there are two treatment plans. One with the optimum treatment including implants and bridges. One with removable appliances and fillings.
  • Have a print off of all and a place for patients to take notes.
  • Consult room preferred , if not available, meet in an operatory with the patient sitting in a chair along side you. Always schedule a consult with their spouse or significant other to allow for clear communication and avoid the transfer of information between parties. This can cause delay in treatment due to frustration and lack of communication.

Begin by placing the photos up on the screen as large as possible. Following a short pause for the patient to review the images, the coordinator begins the discussion with the patient.

The discussion begins with asking questions that are not answered with a Yes or No such as :

  • What are your expectations today?
  • How old were you when you lost your teeth? Had this root canal?
  • What would you have done differently if you had the chance ?
  • What has this cost you?
  • When you look in the mirror , what do you like about your smile?

After fact finding, ask for their permission prior to presenting the client with your findings. Once permission is given, review the findings using photos and xrays.

Following the presentation of both treatment plans ask:

  • Tell me your thoughts?
  • Seeing that we can anticipate your dental needs five years from now, what benefit do you see in doing this treatment now?
  • When would you like to begin?

Give the patient a copy of their photos, xrays and two treatment plans and schedule the next two appointments within a short period of time. NOTE: Admin should always leave a one hour opening in the schedule at least 24 hours out for treatment such as New Patient exams and tours or NP treatment.  Send away predeterminations.

Follow up with a call the next day to ask if the patient has any questions or concerns.

For Practice Management advice please email [email protected] or call the lab to schedule a time to meet. Watch for Dental Team and Tech Study Club postings on schelldental.ca and on the Schell Dental Facebook page for more Practice Management Advice.

Comment from Schell Dental Ceramics CEO with 40 years of experience in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour

‘We are not in the business of increasing acceptance rates; we’re in the business of increasing understanding rates’ 

“It’s time to invert the thinking and process of dealing with ‘patients’. They are also consumers, faced with decisions every day as to where they should allocate their finite resources. They don’t simply decide on an isolated basis; they weigh the relative importance or priority of each one….a new roof, tuition, holidays, computer……We simply are part of that choice spectrum and need to articulate our diagnosis and proposed treatment in a way that allows them the ability to make the most informed decision.

Mark Pigott