At Bedford Associates in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr. McPhillips will have an initial consultation visit with each patient. This initial consultation visit accomplishes a number of important goals in achieving high quality patient care. After meeting with Dr. McPhillips each patient will speak with our treatment coordinator to discuss procedure costs.
At the consultation visit, the surgeon will review your reasons for coming in, as well as your medical history. This is to make sure that all needed care is attended to and that appropriate precautions and / or arrangements are made for any important medical problems. An accurate medical history is extremely important, since many of our patients receive powerful, intravenous sedation for their surgery. This makes a good medical history much more important for oral and maxillofacial surgery than for routine dental work. Essentially, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon needs to know a patient’s medical history just as well as an anesthesiologist in the hospital would. If the surgeon needs any special laboratory tests, imaging studies, and / or consultations with other physicians, arrangements for these will be made at the first visit.
Also, at the initial visit, your surgeon assures that he has all of the proper x-rays needed for the planned surgery. Old, out of focus, overly small, or otherwise suboptimal x-rays are a large contributor to surgical mistakes, removal of incorrect teeth, and missed problems in the mouth. If your surgeon needs new or additional x-rays to take proper care of you, he will obtain them at the consultation visit.
After obtaining an accurate history and all necessary x-rays, the surgeon will examine your mouth and face to be sure that no abnormalities are missed. After that, he will discuss with you your diagnoses and the surgery he proposes to treat those diagnoses. During these discussions, you will have multiple opportunities to have any and all of your questions answered. These discussions create the informed consent process that culminates with your signing a consent form for the surgery. Informed consent is virtually a legal requirement for any surgery these days.
Finally, the surgeon will determine whether he needs to discuss your case in more detail with your referring doctor(s) prior to surgery. Some of the procedures we perform require that we discuss the details of the case with other doctors before we proceed with surgery. Having the surgery scheduled on a date after the consultation appointment allows the surgeon the time to appropriately contact these doctors.
While the surgeon is accomplishing all of the above tasks, our office staff is processing your administrative paperwork. They will contact your insurance company, so as to give you as accurate an estimate as possible, with regards to your financial obligation on the surgery date. Prior to leaving the office from the consultation visit, you will be given the opportunity to schedule the actual surgery, along with a written estimate of your actual costs of the planned procedures.
As is usually the case at an initial doctor visit, you should be prepared to fill out a number of routine forms. You may want to arrive 15 – 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time, in order to give yourself enough time to complete these necessary forms. Please bring the following items with you, so as to expedite your course through the consultation visit and its paperwork.
- Driver’s License
- Dental Insurance Card and / or information
- Medical Insurance Card and / or information
- Referral form or treatment request from your referring doctor (if you have one)
- Any x-rays that your referring doctor gave you to bring to your consultation
- List of all medicines you are allergic to, can’t have, or do not want for any reason
- List of all medicines you are taking (include all prescriptions, inhalers, patches, shots, vitamins, herbals, minerals, over the counter medicines, occasional medicines, as needed medicines, medicines from other countries, internet medicines, etc.)
- List of all prior surgeries and / or procedures you have been put to sleep for
- List of all medical problems that you have
- Name of your general dentist, orthodontist, other dental specialist(s), and physician(s)
The consultation visit is designed to allow your surgeon to be entirely familiar with you, your history, and your needs. It is necessary in order to be able to take good care of you and to avoid missing any important issues in your case. It eliminates mistakes, allows for proper informed consent, and makes your surgery day as smooth and streamlined as possible. Successful surgeries and good surgical results start with a good consultation visit.