The Five Levels of Entry to the Health Centered, Relationship Based: Tier IV Practice
The Five Levels of Dental Care - we offer to people who choose our practice. Robert L. Frazer, Jr., DDS
We understand that choosing a new dentist and dental health team can be a challenge, leaving you feeling somewhat uncertain. We are writing to welcome you, and to share more specifically our beliefs about what we do for people. A few years ago, we wrote a philosophy or purpose for our practice. Briefly stated ... .
“Our purpose is to help people achieve the highest level of well-being personally appropriate for them and in so doing to enhance the quality of their lives and our own.”
In other words, we help you be or become as healthy as you choose. This is a major departure from the way we were trained. Instead of telling you how healthy you ought to be, we will try to help you understand your choices about dental health and then let you make a free and informed choice. Your first choice in this regard is how you would like to begin with us. There are five levels on which people may choose to be seen in our practice.
Level 1 - Urgent Care
People in crisis or with an emergency problem such as pain, swelling, or bleeding who need immediate help. We see urgencies immediately, whenever possible. We maintain a 24-hour answering service with real people, not machines. One of the dentists is always on call.
Level 2 - Remedial/Cursory Care
People who choose this level of care desire treatment only when something breaks or becomes uncomfortable. Generally, people at this level prefer a short-term cursory type of examination, screening for very obvious more advanced problems. They usually want to correct immediate problems with as little effort and cost as possible, even though the treatment may not be a long-term solution. Folks at this level are not yet ready for a comprehensive examination and long-term treatment plan. Their motto might be, “Let’s just take care of what is wrong today and not worry about tomorrow.” These people may be counting on fate and luck to see them through, at least for the present.
Level 3 - Self Care
People choose this level of care if they want to keep their teeth a lifetime in good or excellent comfort, function, and appearance. People at this level choose to have a comprehensive examination, fully evaluating teeth, gums, and supporting tissues, as well as the dynamic relationship of the jaw to the continued health of the dental system. During this examination process, we jointly formulate a long-term plan for their preferred dental future. However, due to the current life circumstances or beliefs, they will be following a holding plan until they can proceed to a higher level. They are interested in what they can do, personally, to improve their dental health and arrest any active disease processes, but are not yet ready to commence major treatment. People at this level are monitored through frequent preventive maintenance visits with our hygienist.
Level 4 - Complete Dentistry
People at this level are similar to the people described above. They choose to have a comprehensive examination and formulate a long-term treatment plan designed to achieve a dental future of choice not chance. Unlike the Self-care person, they are ready to commence treatment. They also want to understand and control the causative agents of dental disease. Again, they interface closely with our preventive and hygiene departments before, during, and after treatment.
Level 5 - Wellness Resource
People here are in excellent dental health. They want to see the hygienist one to four times per year, with complete monitoring examinations done annually by the dentist. These people practice highly effective levels of nutrition with home care and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our intent would be to assist these people in finding others in the community who might help them to attain even higher levels of personal well-being.
We hope these levels make sense to you. It is not uncommon for people to begin at a lower level and progress over time. If we can help with your decision regarding the level most comfortable for you to begin, please call us. We thank you for the opportunity to serve your dental needs and wants.
Yours for better health and well-being, Robert L. Frazer, Jr., DDS, and Team
Note: Our Health Relationship Coordinator or another front office team member would guide the patient to a recommended level based on how they responded to questions about their reason for calling, added concerns, past dental history, and desire to keep their teeth a lifetime.
In fact, it is often ideal for a person to begin where they feel safe at a lower level if there is any reluctance to enter at the comprehensive level 3 or above. Our experience was that about half the time, the level 2 patient decided to move to at least level 3 during their first visit. Some actually elected level 4. In those cases, we would sometimes begin records and the Pre-clinical if they had the time and we had the space.
Recall that we do not perform our clinical exam on their first visit for level 3, 4, and 5, except where there are "emergency" concerns. I resisted not examing on the first appointment when I first heard the late Bob Barkley advocate it, but when I finally did, my case acceptance more than doubled!
Permission is granted for your personal use of the Levels of Entry/Care in your practice, but please give attribution if shared with others beyond your patients. It may not be reproduced for any other commercial purposes without the express written consent of R.L. Frazer & Associates, Inc. Thank you!