June 19, 2019

switching dentists coordinating with referrals

Here in downtown Seattle, A general dentist is the only dental practitioner that many people will ever need.

On the other hand many of us will require different types of dentists and doctors throughout our lifetimes.

Perhaps we need our wisdom teeth removed and the procedure is beyond the scope of our family dentist. Or take for example someone who is suffering from gum disease. It is important that these patients maintain regular visits with their general dentist and in addition establish specialized care with a periodontist. This patient may need initial restorative surgeries followed by occasional visits with their specialist.

(For more information, refer to our blog post: The difference between regular cleanings and periodontal maintenance cleanings!)

When a patient’s care is shared between two or more practitioners, precise communication between the doctors is necessary. We call this care coordination.

Care coordination: “the deliberate coordination of patient care activities between two or more participants involved in a patients care to facilitate the appropriate delivery of health care services” (McDonald et al., 2007).

This is standard practice between dentists. When a patient is referred from one doctor to another, the doctors inherently communicate with each other. They converse about their patient’s dental needs and outline their recommended courses of action. The offices will transfer their patient’s x-rays as necessary and will stay up-to-date by sharing procedural notes and correspondence with one another to communicate the treatment that has been finished and acknowledge the pending treatment that has yet to be completed.

In Closing the Quality Gap: A Critical Analysis of Quality Improvement Strategies the topic of care coordination was a key strategy targeted to increase the quality and decrease the unnecessary costs in healthcare.


We believe that the foundation of efficiency and quality are relationships. Imagine when the working relationship between two or more practitioners continues over an extended period of time, over a growing list of shared patients.

The quality of communication between the doctors increases as they get to know each other better. They become more familiar with one another’s work. The doctors will even teach each other unique aspects of their process in order to set-up and specifically support the expertise of the other doctor’s care. Building the right team of specialists improves case predictability, reduces unnecessary costs, and strengthens community within Seattle’s dental practitioners.

Bell Harbour Dental – PerioInnovations is always reaching out to build our relationships with other dental practitioners. We value community, sharing knowledge, and maintaining these relationships with our colleagues.

Our two dental practitioners make an excellent team. The proximity of their practices, their daily meetings, and their numerous shared patients are giant leaps towards improved communication and closing the quality gaps within care coordination.

Both dentists work with their own preferred dental labs, regularly coordinate care with practitioners throughout Seattle, and place value on sharing knowledge and impeccable care coordination throughout the oral-healthcare community.

We hold these working relationships with incredible regard. Both of our doctors are committed to ensuring that our referred patients return to their general dentists for routine dental care.

Ask your doctors about building the right team of specialists to take care of your oral health. Delivering patient care with uncompromising quality is our commitment to you. In order to do so, fostering the vigorous growth of working relationships between practitioners is a commitment to our patients and to our skillful dental community.

McDonald KM, Sundaram V, Bravata DM, et al. Closing the Quality Gap: A Critical Analysis of Quality Improvement Strategies, Volume 7—Care Coordination. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; June 2007.

Bell Harbour Dental is a family owned, patient-first dental practice in the heart of Downtown, Seattle. Check us on out Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or contact us today to assist you in taking initiative towards vibrant dental health!

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