Dental Treatment Plan Case Study: Using The “Drawing” Software Feature

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth 10,000 words. The same can be said for developing and effectively selling a dental treatment plan to patients.  Drawing on an existing x-rays educates the patient, provides a superior dental chart entry, and improves case acceptance.

Here is another real-life example of charting issues and the accompanying commentary on how you can avoid legal entanglements before they are filed.

Dental Treatment Plan Case Study:

Dentist:  Endodontist

Situation:   This specialist today showed me a superior education/risk management tool, that I want to share with you.  The general dentist referred this patient for a possible lower molar retreatment.  The endodontist took an initial PA, duplicated the film, drew on it (he uses PBS Endo software) and explained his thoughts while the patient watched, and retained both films in the permanent record.  Here they are:

View of an x-ray as part of a dental treatment plan without using the charting software's drawing tool; far less useful

Dental X-ray before notation was added














View of an x-ray as part of a dental treatment plan using the charting software's drawing tool

Dental X-ray using the “notation” tool to better manage malpractice risk
















Dental Treatment Plan Pointers:

A picture is worth one thousand words (especially to a lay-person jury)!

The red numbers reference his progress notes and the issues to be addressed:  (1) possible fracture; (2) furcation involvement  possibly secondary to a stripping perforation; and, (3) a missed canal.  The arc at the bottom graphically shows the apical radiolucency.  Combining explanatory progress notes with a didactic x-ray depiction is the best legal defense I can imagine.

I believe most software packages carry this “drawing” feature.  Please check your program.  If available, you can educate your patients, increase case acceptance, and legally provide A+ protection using just one diagram (coupled with matching progress notes).

A special shout out to Dr. Brad Gettleman of Glendale, AZ for providing these films (BTW, he is NOT involved in a legal action with this patient).

Please incorporate this recommendation into your charting policies.  As always, reach out to me personally if you have any questions or insights to share with your fellow subscribers.

Thanks and keep charting!  

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