When presenting treatment plans to patients it is best to give them one option. If they want to see the difference in cost between fixed and removable options, or implants or a bridge, then it is appropriate to show them two options.
The dreaded question at night when your whole family is starving, “So where do you want to eat?” Everyone feels like going somewhere different. “No I don’t feel like eating that. That place has too long of a wait. That restaurant has bad service. On and on and on…”
There are some things that are good to have up for debate. Like, what tie goes best with this shirt? Do we want to remodel or do we want to move? Should I get an Audi, Mercedes or BMW? These are all questions that have to deal with situations that involve some personal taste, style and an understanding of what is most important to you as an individual.
In each of these situations, excluding the “where do we eat for dinner,” if you had a trained professional that knew what questions to ask to uncover your needs, wants and understood where you are coming from and where you want to go, ultimately they would tell you what would be best for you.
When it comes to recommending dental treatment for patients, giving patients multiple options and asking them to decide on only one, they will usually take the least expensive option which is not the best option for them to meet their needs. In order for the patient to make an educated decision, they would have to be as educated as you, the dental professional. Since the patient did not go to dental school, they are depending on you to properly advise them.
What you need to do is be very good at asking questions of the patient to understand their situation and what they want to achieve, or to what condition they are trying to prevent from happening. Based on the patients needs, wants and fears, you should recommend your treatment plan to help make that a reality. In most instances, not all, the only options will be fixed or removable. The patient may be a candidate for implants, or they may not.
Over the years I am sure that you have had patients that have gone to another dentist for a second opinion and gotten a completely different treatment plan. This happens and you cannot get hung up on all of the complexity of what another dentist would do. You have to decide for the patient what is best for them based on your expert opinion, and go for it. Treatment planning any other way will lead to too much confusion for the patient, and ultimately no action or decision, or a potential bad decision.
I am not a dentist, but I am a professional consumer. I want an expert to find out what is best for me, tell me why I should get it, and then make sure that I do, all in a very caring manner. When this happens to me, I am very happy. If I have someone helping me that is uncertain about what to do, waffling about what I need and giving me a lot of options, I do not feel confident, and I will not make a decision and buy.
Look at your treatment planning approach, and see if this fits for you and your style. I am confident that if you are certain about what your patients need, they will feel more confident that they are making the right decision too.