Dental Specialists Usually Refer Back to Dentists

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Dental Survey ResultsThis survey asked dentists how frequently their patients are referred back after being sent out for treatment by specialists. The clear majority said they always or almost always got their patients back.

Dentists reported that prosthodontists were the worst offenders when it comes to not referring patients back. There were also complaints about pediatric dentists and periodontists.”Periodontists only have incoming phone lines,” complained an Arizona dentist. “They never refer back.”

Read the dentists’ comments for further insight.


General dentists and specialists


Dentists were most critical of prosthodontists and periodontists not referring patients back.

Dentists were happiest with oral surgeons, orthodontists, and endodontists.


For more insight, check out these comments!!

Specialists and general dentists

  • “Building a good relationship with your specialists is critical. Open lines of communication and professionalism, along with some warm and fuzzy human contact are vital elements for strengthening this relationship. Specialist referrals are our second greatest source of new patients, after existing patient referrals.” (Pennsylvania cosmetic dentist)


  • “Endodontists: Keep up the great work!” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “Endodontists love to do it all, endo and restorations. They’re too greedy.” (Arizona dentist)
  • “The endodontists to whom I send patients are tremendous. If there is an issue or question with regards to treatment, they always contact me to reach a mutual agreement in the patient’s best interest, They are excellent at following up with patients who have experienced pain.” (Illinois dentist)

Orthodontists and oral surgeons

  • “Oral surgeons and orthodontists are a great source of new patients, especially in a growing area.” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “Orthodontists will not share or help with easy cases, and refer existing patients to oral surgeons, not back to us.” (Arizona dentist)
  • “Orthodontists and oral surgeons should return the favor!” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “Oral surgeons are generally receptive to treatment input from the restoring dentist, and they’re good about keeping me informed. Orthodontists tend to be the least receptive to input from dentists, and yet the results they get are frequently fair only.” (Illinois dentist)

Periodontists (good)

  • “I enjoy the relationship with my periodontist. He does the perio and I do the restorative. It’s a non-threatening relationship because I’m not afraid that when I refer the patient that they will get lost.” (California dentist)
  • “My periodontist is excellent and very professional. Shares patient information and x-rays. Absolutely wants my input with regards to treatment plans and restorative options.” (Illinois dentist)

Periodontists (bad)

  • “Periodontists never refer back, never keep me informed of the treatment rendered, and even refer my patients to oral surgeons for things I would like to do.” (Texas dentist)
  • “You send periodontists a patient and never see that person again until a tooth has decayed out of proportion and they need treatment. That is ridiculous.” (Florida dentist)
  • “Periodontists attempt to take over patients’ care and regular hygiene visits.” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “Periodontists only have incoming phone lines. They never refer back.” (Arizona dentist)
  • “Periodontists: We’re happy to help you – do the same, likewise. We can do implants; you guys take care of soft tissue. Use your lasers, then return them to us.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “I actually stopped referring to several local periodontists as they would tell my patients that they could do a ‘proper’ cleaning in their office and we would not be able to provide the same service! Ironically, all of my hygienists had many more years experience than those in the perio offices.” (California dentist)

Pediatric dentists

  • “Pedodontists never, ever refer back! They are by far the worst of all specialists. They violate the State Practice Act daily by allowing assistants to perform far more than we could ever get away with. They take the patients we refer, never thank us, and keep them as long as they want to keep coming, even into their 20’s. These guys are a huge help for the uncontrollable, but a real thorn in the side for pretty much everything else!” (Arkansas dentist)


Note: Survey sample included 59 respondents.

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