Scheduling Dental Emergency Patients Causing You Pain?
How we manage this as a dental team can make or break our day in the dental office.
The front office will most likely feel great pressure to schedule the dental emergency immediately. However, they might also be unsure just how or where to put this patient in their schedule.
How to Evaluate the Dental Emergency
Knowing that most of our dental emergency patients will actually call the office, we need a great plan! The telephone is the number one way our patients will reach out to us.
So, how do we know when our “emergency” patient is truly an emergency? Sometimes our patients do need a little help in figuring this out! That’s why they call us in the first place!
Once you have their name and you know who you talking to, there are some other basic questions you can ask.
Scheduling Dental Emergency Patients Well Questions:
Are you currently experiencing pain?
On a scale of 1 – 5 with 5 being the worst, where is your pain?
Any swelling at all in your face or in your mouth?
How long have you had pain and or swelling?
How to Schedule Non-Urgent Dental Emergency
“I’m glad to hear you have no pain or swelling, Jane. I totally understand how you feel. Dr. Tom has an emergency patient in his schedule this afternoon that is going to push us late into the day.
I would like to schedule you for our first appointment Monday morning to evaluate this tooth further. I’m going to ask you to be careful with this tooth and avoid biting any crunchy or hard foods with that tooth until we have a chance to see what’s happened. Can we see you Monday morning?”
The Weekend Wait
“I could come in Monday morning, but what do I do if this tooth breaks more over the weekend?”
“Great! I’m going to schedule you for an appointment Monday morning at 9:00. The good news is, this tooth broke several days ago, and you’ve not developed any pain or discomfort, and there is no swelling. Let’s trust that this will continue. However, should you develop any pain that is not relieved with over the counter medications, or swelling should develop, please call our emergency #. That # is 888-8888. Ok, Jane?”
“Yes, that’s fine. Thank you. I’ll see you Monday”.
Scheduling Dental Emergency Patients That Walk In
Now let’s take a look at the possible conversation with a perspective new patient who walks into the office asking for help. A man walks right up to your desk and you quickly identify he is new to the office.
“Hi” the gentleman says and smiles, “I’ve got a bad toothache and I was hoping the dentist might help. I live here in the neighborhood and drive by all the time. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a dentist.”
“Hello! I’m so glad you came by! My name is April. What’s your name?”
“John. John Green. This tooth has been killing me for days. I was hoping it would go away. I even put some cloves on it, and I’ve been rinsing with salt water, but it is even waking me up at night. It just keeps getting worse”.
“Well, you’ve come to the right place. We can help you with that. We can start with getting an x-ray of that tooth and having Dr. Sarah take a look for you. Do you have a photo ID with you today? Do you have dental insurance helping you with this today?”