An easy way to mess up any dentist’s schedule is to book patients without knowing the full extent of the work that has to be done on them. This is a very common pitfall among dental clinics especially since front office workers often think that each person who asks for an appointment with the doctor has the same concern. This is not always the case. There are patients who come in for a comprehensive checkup which can be scheduled later while there are those who are in pain and must be attended in the soonest possible time.
Although dentists should not expect their front office person to be as knowledgeable as they are when it comes to assessing each patient’s dental concern and arranging their appointment according to how they see fit, there are five simple questions that a front office worker must ask to help him or her in this department.
1. What is the nature of the problem?
Is this a less urgent cosmetic problem or does this involve a fractured teeth with bleeding or inflammation of the gums? Does this problem involve a crown or bridge? If so, how is the crown or bridge damaged and what is the severity of the damage? Knowing the answers to this question will allow the front office worker to schedule appointments according to the severity of the dental problem and the urgency of required treatment.
2. Is the patient experiencing pain?
Nobody wants to be in pain and, as much as possible, no one in pain should be made to wait. There are easy ways to assess the patient’s pain. The worker should ask when the pain started and if the pain has gotten worse or better since then. The front office worker should also ask the patient to rate the pain according to a scale of 1-10 and ask if he or she is taking any kind of medication to help relieve the pain.
3. Is the patient experiencing any swelling?
Again, swelling indicates that the patient must be looked at as soon as possible. Asking the patient straight up if there is any swelling and the extent of the swelling will allow the front office person to assess the gravity of the situation and schedule that patient’s appointment appropriately.
4. Is premedication required?
Premedication take up time which is why it is necessary for the front office person to find out if the person has to be anesthetized or if any bleeding has to be contained prior to pushing through with the procedure.
5. What is the patient’s problem area?
Reviewing the patient’s records will reveal any problem area that a patient has, and can give the dentist a heads-up on this matter.