An uneasiness shared by both the patient and the dentist: the fear for the estimate.
We could say that in reality the fear of one is poured on the other. If a professional is literally afraid to submit his or her estimate to the patient (the most frequent hesitation is to present excessively expensive fees), he or she will certainly be wrong about the ways and forms because an honest and justified expense cannot be ignored if the patient’s needs have been endorsed upstream.
The patient presents himself to the study with certain expectations and objectives to be achieved. Anyone who sits in the dentist’s office chair already knows how they want to get out, and anyone who requests a service has a clear idea of what they want for themselves. The patient imagines the final outcome and on the basis of the variables of the case (such as time of execution and financial availability) decides on the proposal of the professional whether to carry out the therapy through a complete and definitive rehabilitation or proceed step by step. What he is not aware of are probably the technical aspects of the therapy, the possible physiological limits related to his clinical case.
The good dentist will be able to guarantee, through the person of his team delegated to the preparation of estimates, an estimate that reflects and embraces in full the real needs of the patient, whether they are related to the most obvious request that is the treatment of the disease, the aesthetic factor and function, up to the inevitable limits dictated by economic expenditure (absolutely binding for the purpose of accepting the estimate).
The figure who deals with interfacing with the patient to discuss together the amount of the final expenditure is not insignificant, it allows to separate the medical profession of the Doctor, compared to the purely economic / accounting context and has the opportunity in the preliminary meetings to intercept the needs of the patient integrating them to a rough analysis (but still well-founded) about the status of the person in front of him, a necessary moment in which we try to frame the individual so that we can take the most correct way to explain, motivate and propose the estimate.
Once the urgency, the necessity, the projection into the future of the patient and his “economic availability” have been understood, the suitable ways of treatment with the relative timing are submitted, always keeping in mind that the medical services provided are aimed at restoring the well-being of the entire organism and are not limited to the treatment of the teeth. The restoration of function and aesthetics are the final and most “visible” part of a much more complex and complex therapy, the result of careful and meticulous clinical investigations to assess every aspect of health as a whole. Only thanks to a careful and complete diagnosis by the dentist is it possible to carry out a personalized therapy because each person is unique and as such must be treated and satisfied.
If we want to talk about the modus operandi, the professional should prefer a modular approach (various stages) rather than an overall one (everything and immediately). In recent years the doctor-patient relationship has changed, once the word of the doctor was incontrovertible and the patient trusted, or had to rely blindly on the hands of their trusted dentist. In today’s scenario, where information and competition have altered the parameters of choice, the far-sighted dentist must find a way to explain, convince and operate in all honesty and transparency. Each patient is unique and as such needs to be treated, the doctor must reason in a targeted manner, motivate one line rather than another, ensure the result by embracing the needs of the patient and then make them coincide with the economic availability.
With regard to financial management, one is led to think that the first and only parameter taken into account by the patient is the amount of the fee. In reality, it is only partially correct. Of course, the advertising that stands out on the windows of low-cost chains that promise low-cost performance attracts, but at the same time how can you promise a therapy, and a performance, without a proper diagnosis? Without having seen what clinical condition the patient is in? Without knowing exactly what his expectations are? Without these essential elements it becomes almost impossible to propose targeted, effective solutions, able to fully meet the patient’s expectations.
The dentist must be aware of the fact that the difference is not the estimate but the listening of the patient that leads to intercept the best and most suitable “care” according to expectations and possibilities. It is not certain that a patient does not accept an “important” estimate, perhaps deferred over time, by virtue of the predictable final yield, rather than an estimate “below cost” which in fact does not allow the patient to be treated in the best possible way.