A Practical Guide to Building Relationships with Referring Dentists

Dental patients are dependent on the expertise of their general dentist. Whether dentists refer patients to a periodontal specialist or offer to provide periodontal treatment in-house, patients are likely to comply. 

Because of this high level of trust between general dentists and patients, building relationships with dentists to earn referral power is non-negotiable. 

So what can periodontists do to build a relationship with dentists as powerful as that between dentists and their patients to the point where dentists don’t have to think twice about sending patients to your practice? 

It starts by creating trust and goodwill before discussing any business.

Trust Shouldn’t Be Sacrificed for Profits

Referrals make up a large portion of a periodontal practice’s revenue, but profits should never come before trust. 

Periodontists should build their referral relationships on trust rather than business. By doing so, specialists create sustainable value in their practice that can encourage general dentists to continue referring business rather than offering one-off referrals. 

Relationships Must Be Mutually Beneficial

Referrals should never be one-sided, but dentists often have a one-sided view of referring to periodontists. 

Many dentists will attempt to treat periodontal issues themselves instead of referring patients to a specialist. It takes work away from the periodontist, but not always because the dentist is profit hungry. 

Rather, dentists don’t always recognize the value a perio specialist brings or feel they need to refer out.

 To combat this, periodontists must be able to show how referrals can be mutually beneficial. Emphasizing the benefits specialized treatment brings to the patient and the referring practice as a whole is critical in building trust and earning referral business. 

How PANDA Perio Contributes to the Solution

Just like patients needing to be educated in the value of dentistry, dentists also need to be educated in the value of utilizing the Periodontist. Some potential ways to approach this: 

  • Study club invitations or hosting study groups offering CE credit
  • Personal coaching and guidance, such as coming to the referring doctor’s practice when the mutual patient is in the chair
  • Lunch and Learn outreach
  • Correspondence that includes education as a goal, such as the sample letter and information offered this quick reference guide on AAP classification changes

 PANDA Perio’s solutions are designed to promote communication and ongoing education with referring doctors. Effective patient motivation and educational reports can be sent to the referring doctor and reflect their live periodontal findings evaluated chairside at the Perio practice. This offers unmatched potential to streamline and simplify communication for the benefit of the patient and referring dentist alike.

PANDA Perio also creates clear, effective treatment plans that includes pertinent information referring dentists need to know, how the plan relates to them, and where they fit in to the bigger picture. This helps the Periodontist avoid performing this process manually so that information is transcribed in a logical, simplified, consistent format on every case and most importantly in a timely manner.

Referral Relationships Need Ongoing Care

Just as periodontal treatment is an ongoing process, so are the relationships you create with referring dentists. Making contact and earning referral status isn’t enough to sustain the relationship, especially if other periodontists are seeking referrals from your partners. 

It’s critical to continue investing in your network to prevent trust from deteriorating. Just earning a few referrals whose treatment would otherwise have been performed by the general dentist makes the effort worthwhile. 

For more practice insights, head back to the PANDA Perio blog.

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