Module Theme

The Possibility Session


1Watch Video

Lesson #7: CORE Lesson #7 – Phasing Treatment

About This Lesson

Instructions coming soon..


Action Items

  1. Make sure you have in your practice some way of differentiating a phased plan with “Treatment Plans”. A treatment plan is something you give to a patient when you are ready to break down actual costs, etc. There is a distinction here that most miss. You want buy-in to the concept first of the phased plan, then you can do treatment plans later!

Full Video Transcript / MP3

Expand View

Hello, welcome back. This is Dr Steve Schluentz, and we are on the last video for the possibility session for the core videos, the core tenants, so I'm really, really excited to share this with you. It's a long bullet point list on this one, so I'm going to try to keep it as simple and as concise as possible. Obviously, as you're going through, if you have questions on it, don't hesitate to ask.

This is all about phasing treatment, the plan, right? I'm going to keep it really, really simple. On this page, so that as you're going through and you're trying to digest and take notes on this, just understand this. It's all about phasing treatment. Unless somebody needs a full mouth reconstruction, they know they need a full mouth reconstruction, and they say, "You are the guy," and I have this happen, this happens, "You're the guy, I want to go through all of it, let's do it. What does it cost? Let's get this done." If I can ballpark it, I will tell them, "It's going to be 20 to 30 grand to get this done in composite, and this is what's involved, and we can get rolling on this when you're ready."

Most people don't come in that way, so the key is phasing treatment, getting a plan in place, and that risk assessment pyramid is such an amazing tool to be able to phase treatment with your patients. It's not treatment plans, it's not sections and this is what we're doing. That pyramid gives somebody a foundation and a basis to work from, especially when you start to look at risk assessments, and how do you put risk assessments together with the plan is everything, right?

As I said, it's very rare to have somebody committed to doing everything upfront. Okay? It's why it's essential to phase your treatment. Break this out over a period of time. Dentists are in too big of a hurry, and as a result, a lot of care goes either undiagnosed or untreated. That's the number one problem I actually see from dentists. They underdiagnose or they undiagnose, and they untreat because they undiagnose. We're going so fast that we breeze through everything, because we're so worried about, we need to get this done, we need to get this done.

Listen, this is very similar to what we talked about in the last video, which is, if disease care and wellness care have pros and cons, understanding how to phase treatment also has pros and cons. The con of phasing treatment is it actually takes longer for the dentist to make money on the front end, but the reward of it is on the back end.

If you build trust and rapport with your patients, and have a common goal that they're working towards, you've gotten so much commitment on this session, that if you can get that commitment and reinforce that commitment, over the lifetime that this patient is with the practice, your average treatment case acceptance is going to skyrocket, but what you do for this patient is going to just multiply and grow and develop. It's unbelievable how much I've seen this in my own practice and with the doctors that I'm working with. If they do this right, they will knock this out of the park. Okay.

Use the wellness pyramid to help phase the plan for you. Work your patients up the pyramid. In this fashion, you're not overwhelming them. They can follow with your process and you're able to set both short and longterm goals here, right? The longterm goal might be they want to be completely reconstructed. They're like, "I want a brand new smile, but I'm not in a rush to do it. I just, in the next five years, I'd hope to have this accomplished." Okay, great. That's the longterm goal. Now we can break it into short term goals. Let's work on perio, work on bite, work on this, work on that, right?

The pyramid gives them a graphic they can use to make sure they're on the right path. This is a simplistic way to treatment plan, like they did in dental school. I thought a lot about this when I was at UNC and I was learning. They break everything down into phases, and then we somehow stopped that when we graduated. Right? We got into the working world, "Yeah, we don't do that. We give them what they need, and bam, let's go." It doesn't work, right? So this is kind of like the best way to treatment plan, in my opinion. This is the only way to treatment plan, in my opinion.

Once you have the overview of the plan, then you can create an individual treatment plan for each level of the pyramid. That's how I typically do it. With this big overall plan, we might have, depending on how you are in your practice, you might write out a master plan, you might use the risk assessment pyramid, you might have steps. These are overarching views of the plan, and then a treatment plan is the specific things you need to do in each rung of the pyramid, that gets you the desired results. Right?

Even if patients agree to treatment all at once, you want to still work them up the pyramid. Trust me on this. You really don't want to be starting at level four of that pyramid without taking care of the first two. You don't want to be doing reconstructions on patients with perio. It's a nightmare. It's a mess. But I see it all the time. Right?

I'm telling you, if you trust this process, as patients, like, "I want to go, I want to go, I want to go." Unless they've got a wedding next week, or they're a celebrity and they're thinking, "Hey, I really want this done," believe me, even if you get done with a longterm carer, you have to preface this, "Listen, when we get done with this, I'm immediately bringing you back down to this pyramid and we are working on this stuff, because if we don't take care of the, especially the first two rungs, tooth decay and gum disease, you are done. You're toast. And listen, it's not my responsibility to do that. It's your responsibility to take care of your teeth on a daily basis."

That's the patient-doctor relationship that nobody talks about. Stop taking that away from the patient and saying, "You know what? You just come in here and you'll be taken care of." No, you need to do your work too, and that's where that partnership comes in.

Hopefully you got value out of of these five bullet points about how to phase this properly, using that risk assessment pyramid. Your action steps are to make sure you have in your practice some way of differentiating a phased plan with treatment plans. What I mean by that is there's a fundamental difference between a treatment plan and an overarching phased plan of how you're going to attack each one of these specific areas, and then a treatment plan is something you give to the patient when you're ready to break down actual costs, et cetera. That is a distinction that most people miss. You want them to buy into the concept first of the phased plan, then you can do treatment plans later. Very, very important thing.

So I hope you enjoyed the possibility session. I hope this gives you some clarity as you're going through exactly what you're trying to accomplish at this appointment. Gosh, this has been so great. We are actually already halfway through these core videos, and if you're sticking with it at this point, hopefully you've been implementing some of this stuff in your practice, and hopefully you're already starting to see a difference.

That would mean the world to me. I fundamentally believe in what it is that I'm teaching and coaching, especially for wellness based doctors, as they're starting to put this process in place. I've seen a phenomenal difference in results. You just have to do it. You have to make the commitment that when you get done watching those videos, you don't have to go through these at rapid rates, you want to go through each one and then say, "Okay, how do I put this in place? Okay, next." Each one, "How do I put this in place?" Right? It's absolutely essential. So hopefully you guys are getting value out of these, and I'll see you at module number seven.