REFERRAL TO ANOTHER GENERAL DENTIST OR SPECIALIST
In many cases dentists may think that the recommended treatment is beyond their level of training or experience and may choose to refer a patient to another general dentist or specialist. A referral slip or letter. should clearlyindicate the basis for referral and what the specialist is being asked to do. The referral should be recorded in the chart. A written referral to a specialist may ask ·the specialist to provide a written report detailing the diagnosis and treatment plan A patient’s refusal to pursue a referral should be clearly noted in the chart. If a patient refuses to seek treatment
from a specialist, the dentist must decide whether the recommended treatment is within the dentist’s own expertise. If not, the dentist should not provide this particular treatment, even if the patient insists. A patient’s refusal to seek care from a specialist does not reieve the dentist of liability for injuries or complications resulting from care outside the dentist’s level of training and expertise. ‘Dental specialists should carefully evaluate all referred patients. For example, extracting or treating the wrong tooth is a common allegation in court. When in doubt the specialist should contact the referring de~ntist and discuss the case. Any change in the treatment plan provided by the specialist should be documented in both the referring dentist and specialist’s charts. To avoid informed consent problems, the patient must approve any reveived plan or recommendation.