To achieve optimal health and oral health, the model of care at Winter Smiles places a patient and their social well-being at the centre of decision-making and understands the factors that exist outside the clinical setting, including individual behaviour, context and lifestyle.
We believe that this model of care improves quality of care and overall health outcomes.
For a long time, the dominant treatment approaches in dentistry primarily focused on a surgical, treatment-oriented approach as opposed to health promotion and improvement. However, our model of care disrupts these approaches and provides an alternative way that focuses on disease management and prevention-oriented primary care that considers overall health and well-being.
Under this model of care, we have spent a lot of time in creating an environment where both Dr Winter and his patients are able to communicate effectively to achieve improved health outcomes. Effective communication also avoids unrealistic patient treatment expectations and gives you the reassurance that you are not being recommended unnecessary treatment.
Many patients will go into a dental appointment with some level of expectation regarding their likely outcome. They may have a very clear and detailed outcome in mind or it may be more broad and open. Most importantly, some of these expectations will be realistic, however, others will not be.
Unrealistic patient expectations pose very real challengers for dentists. If a patient undergoes treatment which they have unrealistic expectations about, it is unlikely those expectations are going to be met simply due to them being unrealistic. When presented with this situation, Eden conducts a thorough assessment and diagnosis process before deciding the treatment options, as well as the risks and benefits of those options. This process does not alter simply because a patient requests a particular treatment. This is because there may be treatment options which are more suitable for a patient which the patient is not aware of; conversely, the treatment option desired by the patient may have a low level of success and therefore should be avoided.
Here at Winter Smiles, Eden goes out of his way to do all that he can to help his patients fully understand treatment and the likely and possible treatment outcomes before treatment begins.
Eden also makes sure that his patients have realistic outcomes regarding treatment by having open and honest conversations with them. This not only provides patients with further information about their treatment, but it also gives Eden a clearer understanding of the patient’s expectations.
To assist patients to have realistic expectations, Eden explains the treatment and outcomes using simple, clear terms. Eden also considers how he tailors his language and the information for each individual patient.
Our commitment to only recommend necessary treatment
Eden spends a lot of time considering how to manage patient care in a system that is inherently skewed to promote over-servicing.
Eden’s professional identity as a dentist helps him place patients before profits and he always puts his professionalism first.
There have been a couple of times when he has recommended a crown to a patient and he sort of thought “OK, am I doing this because the crown is a high-end item or because I really believe it is the best thing for the patient?”, and Eden knows that always goes with what he believes is the best thing for the patient.
What is over-servicing in dentistry?
If your dentist recommends a crown, root canal treatment, a tooth extraction, or some other common treatment, you may wonder whether it is really necessary.
Research published by the University of Sydney (include reference) shows that over-servicing by dentists in private practice is an issue in Australia.
Over-servicing is when dental treatments are provided over and above what is clinically justified, or where there is no justification for that care at all.
What if you are unsure if you really need a recommended treatment?
If you are not sure why Dr Winter is recommending a certain treatment, please ask. You can also ask about the pros and cons of other options, including doing nothing for now and keeping an eye on things.
If you are not satisfied with that answer, you can ask for a second opinion. If you would like to ask for a second opinion, please let us know so that we can provide you with a copy of your dental record and x-rays (to avoid these needing to be taken again). Keep in mind, however, that if you do visit another dentist, you will probably have to pay for another consultation.