As dental assistants remain in the profession longer, they acquire a large amount of knowledge concerning oral conditions, treatments, and how dental procedures are accomplished. After years of working chairside, some dental assistants seek additional responsibility. A very interesting and extremely beneficial position in the dental team is emerging for the assistant; a treatment coordinator (TC). The TC is an adjunct to the dentist, patient and team, and can improve the services provided and overall productivity of the practice. Years of dental experience offers the dental assistant vast knowledge of dental procedures and the understanding of many patient personalities and attitudes. The ability to interact as a liaison between the patient and the dentist with compassion and objectivity is an important attribute for the TC.
Working side by side with a dentist allows a dental assistant to learn and understand the dentist’s treatment philosophies and modalities, and to be able to discuss treatment options with patients in a way that complements the style of that particular dentist. As a team member dedicated to this position, the TC has the time to fully educate the patient concerning needs and the suggested treatment. While the TC is assuming these responsibilities, the dentist and clinical assistant are free to provide clinical dentistry to other patients. The dentist can be confident that the TC is providing accurate information and thoroughly addressing the questions or concerns of the patient as well as gathering information to pass along to the dentist during the comprehensive examination. Although the specific responsibilities of a TC may vary from practice to practice, this course offers a general outline of a TC’s responsibilities.*
*Always refer to the state practice act to verify delegation of duties allowed.
Linda Curtis, CDA, CDPMA was born in Brooklyn, NY and has lived in and worked in many areas of the Northeast and Southeast. She began working in dentistry in 1977, with a 14 year hiatus to raise 3 children. She is a contributor to Dental Practice Solutions magazine and has had articles published in Inside Dental Assisting, The Observer, and Dental Economics. Linda received the Journal Award from the American Dental Assistant’s Association in 2010. She has been a lecturer at the Holiday Dental Conference and the Florida National Dental Conference. Linda writes the Exceptional Dental Practice Management blog which can be found at http://dentalpracticemanagement.typepad.com. Linda is retired and enjoying life on the coast.
Upon completion of this course the dental professional should be able to:
• Understand how the Treatment Coordinator (TC) interacts with the patient during the pre-clinical consultation.
• Identify legal scope of responsibility and limitations during the clinical portion of charting and record gathering.
• Discuss existing conditions and possible treatment recommendations that the dentist may suggest.
• Review the treatment plan with the patient.
• Learn to compile and present information that will facilitate an understanding of the oral condition of the patient and the treatment plan that has been prescribed by the dentist.
• Discuss various available financial arrangements.
• Help patient understand their insurance coverage and discuss treatment phasing with the doctor to find ways to phase treatment to maximize benefits without diminishing treatment results.
• Track treatment progress and keep both the patient and dental team informed.
CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS
The ADAA has an obligation to disseminate knowledge in the field of dentistry. Sponsorship of a continuing education program by the ADAA does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular philosophy, product or technique.
The ADAA cautions participants taking this course on the hazards of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into their practices.
Credits earned upon completion of the course may be used to meet DANB’s Recertification Requirements.
CONCERNS OR HELP
If the participant has concerns about the presentation, please contact our Education Department at CESupport@adaausa.org. If the participant has questions on how to view the presentation, please contact Tech Support at TechSupport@adaausa.org
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