Does a “chief complaint” change patient care?

Dentist and Patient Examining X-rayA new class is settling into clinic and treatment planning seems to be happening in every other chair. An intake interview is happening next to me and I hear, “Um… What’s your chief complaint?” I cringe. I see the patient’s head tilt slightly. His brows furrow revealing confusion. I take a guess at what he’s thinking, “What in the world is this kid asking me?!”

Keeping the patient’s best interest in mind

Patient in chairWith so many factors that go into treatment planning (cost, insurance coverage, time requirements, length of procedures, knowledge of the treatment, fear), sometimes we may lose sight of what is best for the patient. Never make assumptions. Get to know your patients. Make sure that he or she understands what the procedure entails and is clear on the pros and cons of every treatment option. Taking the time to listen to the patient and explain all possible treatment options and ways for future prevention is paramount to treating each person in the best way possible.