FDA: Treatment Options
YOUR ROLE AS A DENTAL PATIENT
You can be a smart consumer of dental care. Start telling your dentist about yourself and your needs. You should ask the dentist and office staff as many questions as needed to help you understand the treatment recommendations. Your dentist should explain each treatment option, including its benefits and drawbacks. For many oral-health problems, dentists can offer multiple treatment options or grades of dental care. These options may vary in complexity, durability and cost. Which one is chosen depends a great deal on what you want. Working together, you and your dentist can choose the treatment options that best meet your needs. This relationship is a shared responsibility.
THE FOLLOWING SHOULD HELP YOU GET THE INFORMATION YOU NEED:
What does this treatment recommendation mean?
If you don’t understand any part of what your dentist recommends, don’t be afraid to ask for more information.
Are other treatment options available?
How do the options differ in cost? Which solution will last the longest? Do all the options solve the problem?
Among the dentist’s recommendations, which treatments are absolutely necessary? Which are elective? Which are cosmetic? Which procedures are urgently needed, and which ones are less urgent? Your dentist should be able to prioritize a treatment schedule to help you distinguish problems needing immediate attention from those that are less urgent. Often, treatment can be phased in over time. Be sure you understand the consequences of delaying treatment.
How much will this cost? When and how are you expected to pay?
Does the dentist participate in your health plan? What method of payment does he or she expect? And when is payment due? Make sure you understand the fees, method and schedule of payment before you agree to any treatment.
Feel free to call around the community to compare such factors as location, office hours, fees and what arrangements will be made in case of emergency. If you are comparing fees, ask for estimates on full-mouth X-rays and a preventive dental visit that includes an oral exam and teeth cleaning.
If you have talked with your dentist and still are uncertain about what to do, get a second opinion from another FDA member dentist.
To find another dentist for a second opinion, call your local dental society (listed in the white pages), or ask a relative or friend for referrals. If there is a dental school in your area, you may be able to make an appointment at the school’s clinic.
Our mission at the Florida Dental Association is to maintain high practice standards and improve health through professional and patient education. We believe that your expectations as a dental patient are as important to good oral health care as it is to brush and floss each day.
The FDA wants you to know you should be able to:
- schedule an appointment with the dentist of your choice and be seen in a timely manner.
- know the education and training of your dentist and the dental team.
- know in advance the type and expected cost of treatment.
- ask about treatment alternatives and be told, in language you can understand, the advantages and disadvantages of each, regardless of coverage or cost.
- ask your dentist to explain all the treatment options.
- see dental-team members use appropriate infection and sterilization controls
- be treated in a professional and ethical manner by your dentist and dental team.