Orthodontists have an incredible opportunity to build better ortho/GP interoffice relationships. Who can leverage that opportunity for the orthodontic practice? Your treatment coordinator (TC). With the right training, this individual can guarantee smooth, cooperative, and mutually beneficial communication between your office and GP offices.

A TC is the one individual on the orthodontic team who can effectively show that your office supports the GP’s hygiene department. TCs should visit GP offices, introduce themselves, meet both the dentist and the hygienist, and explain your practice’s hygiene support program. Tell them that prior to bands being placed, your office certainly wants the patient to have a comprehensive hygiene appointment with the GP’s hygienist. Such concern for patients will highlight the TC’s—and your practice’s—dedication to the GP’s patients.

The TC should also explain that part of her job will be to track whether patients under your care are returning to the GP practice for regular hygiene appointments. She should also know when they come into the orthodontic practice if they are overdue for hygiene. When patients are overdue, the TC should inform the GP office and help facilitate the scheduling of these patients with the GP’s scheduling coordinator.

What you are creating is a goodwill ambassador from your office to the general practice. She will gain respect because of her caring, proactive abilities. Through her knowledge, she is able to develop a lasting, productive relationship with the referring practice.

These efforts by the TC pay huge dividends. After all, whom is the GP going to refer to time after time? The orthodontic practice that simply sends a checklist and says that it will call in a couple of years when appliances are taken off? Or the one that builds value for the GP’s hygiene services?

Roger P. Levin, DDS