Increase Referrals From General Dentists
People visit dentists for one of two reasons: they just want to get established or they have a pain they can't ignore.
Serious dental problems are usually found through routine x-ray imaging or examinations at a general practice. Whether the patient had a complaint or not, potentially dangerous dental issues are often easily discovered by any competent dental professional.
What if the general dentist feels that a particular problem is beyond his or her scope of practice?
It's at this point that patients may be referred to your establishment. Very few people decide for themselves that they need to see a dental specialist in the first place. They intend to see a regular dentist where they may then be informed that they need specialized care. For this reason, your practice has come to depend on such referrals. How can you increase the referrals you get from the local general dentists?
Make Your Presence Known
If your practice is new to the area, reach out to establish rapport with other offices. Arrange to host a luncheon with either individual or multiple practitioners. You'll just get started by scheduling a meeting. It's important to keep in mind that the success of your relationship with local general practitioners will depend on other factors such as availability, expertise, and ease of communication.
Become Familiar with Individual Preferences
Different dentists will respond differently to complex dental cases. For example, some dentists like to hold onto patients with serious periodontal involvement because periodontal procedures are the highest producing ones for hygiene care.
Alternatively, other dentists may feel nervous about involved periodontal cases and be quick to refer them out. Understanding how a particular individual runs their practice will help you to anticipate their reservations.
Share Your Expertise
Don't hold back from sharing some of your knowledge of how to deal with dental problems in your area of specialty. Give the local dentists a list of guidelines or signs that indicate a case is ready to see a specialist. If they know exactly when you want to see a patient, they won't worry about referring someone too early or too late.
This is especially crucial when it comes to endodontic care. A general dentist shouldn't have to worry about having a major dental emergency on their hands if they consistently refer the cases out to an endodontist.
Offer to host a Lunch-and-Learn. Arrange for some continuing education for other dental teams in the area. Promote education and awareness and growth within your dental community. This will help other dentists to realize that you can all work as interdependent units as part of the same team.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Send rewards to other offices for their loyal referrals. Try to arrange office parties that include more than your own practice's team members. Stay on top of what the staffing situation is like at other offices so that you can be aware of changes. Encourage your own staff to get acquainted with individuals on the other team. Maintaining the lines of communication will strengthen the relationship you have with other dental professionals.