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Referring Dental Patients to a Specialist

why refer to a dental specialist

Dental referrals are tricky things for patients and dental practitioners alike. Sometimes the scope of the dental work required exceeds the comfort zone of some dental practices. When this occurs, it’s in the best interest of the practice and the patient to consider a dental referral.

That isn’t always easy for dental practitioners to do or for patients to hear. Nevertheless, it’s almost always beneficial to the patient when they’re referred to a quality dental specialist who can provide the scale, scope and specialized expertise patients require.

Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey (SDNJ) is an extension of, and partner to, general dentistry practitioners. Provided by a team of qualified and dedicated dental prosthetics and periodontal professionals, we offer comprehensive prosthodontics and periodontics for dental care, including:

  • Complex implant restorations
  • Intricate esthetic procedures
  • Treatment needing a team of coordinated intervention specialists
  • Comprehensive reconstructive dentistry
  • Challenging patient dental cases

SDNJ offers the following services to dental patients near Manalapan, NJ, and more:

Whether it's a routine or complex prosthodontics case, the talented team of professionals at SDNJ is ready to assist your patients with their needs. We understand your patients are important to you and that it isn’t easy to entrust their care to someone else. We'll work with you to sort out all of the practical details so your patient receives outstanding care and support for his or her treatment needs.

Learn more about the specialists at SDNJ:

We put together this guide for referring dental patients to a specialist so interested parties can learn more about referrals. It covers:

What is a Dental Referral?

General dentists play critical roles in the oral health of their patients. From the first checkup as infants to routine cleanings and even the advanced dental health needs of aging patients, you provide a full cycle of service for most of your patients.

specialized dental referral

Occasionally, a situation arises where the dental care needs of your patient exceed the scope of your practice. Just as not all doctors can effectively treat all health conditions, not all general dentists can provide the specialized care needed for certain advanced or even cosmetic dental conditions and situations. When this occurs, dental referrals provide an opportunity for you to entrust the care of your patient to another dental practitioner who does have the tools, equipment and specialized training to effectively treat the problems your patient is experiencing.

Patients may have some concerns over dental referrals, so it’s important for practitioners to explain why the referral is necessary and that there are many specializations within the field of dentistry, including:

  • Endodontists
  • Prosthodontists
  • Oral Surgeons
  • Orthodontists
  • Pediatric Dentists
  • Periodontists

Each specialist has received specialized education and training to take on specific dental conditions beyond the scope of a general dentist. Patients receive the benefit of extra training and education. Plus, these dentists make investments in specialized tools to aid the effective diagnosis and treatment of dental health conditions within their respective fields.

Why Does a Dental Referral Take Place?

When dentists refer patients to a specialist, it doesn’t indicate a lack of interest in providing treatment. Instead, it indicates an abundance of caution and care by referring patients to dental specialists who are better-suited to deliver the required care.

When medical patients have heart attacks, for instance, they are referred to cardiologists to provide the specialized care they need to treat their heart health. They don’t stop seeing their general practitioner or family doctor. They simply see a cardiologist to provide additional care and treatment for needs specifically related to the heart.

It’s the same principle in dentistry. When a dental patient presents with a misaligned bite that interferes with the cosmetic appearance of his or her mouth or presents difficulty chewing, a general dentist will refer a patient to an orthodontist to discuss the possibility of braces or other treatment options to correct the bite.

There are many reasons referrals take place in dental practices today, including the following:

  • Treatment requires the care of multiple specialists.
  • Complex implant restorations are required, such as those needing cosmetic and functional restorations.
  • Patients require comprehensive reconstructive dental work.
  • When the costs of providing patient care aren’t in the best interests of a general dentist’s practice.
  • Patients require extensive treatment or rehabilitation related to oral cancer or other trauma.
  • Patients have severe occlusal deficiencies.
  • Denture patients have cognitive or neuromuscular deficits.

Working with an organization like SDNJ allows referring dentists to have peace of mind that they are not only doing what’s in the best interests of their patients, but also the knowledge that their patients are in good hands.

What Does This Mean for the Referring Dentist?

Referring a patient to another dentist can be stressful. On the one hand, you want your patients to get the best possible care. Understanding this, it is sometimes necessary for them to go to another dentist to receive more specialized care from a dentist who has broader experience dealing with the specific care your patients require. This doesn’t mean you’re handing them off to another dentist, never to see them again. It does indicate a need to use care and caution when choosing the dentist or dental practice you recommend your patients visit next.

receive specialized dental care

These are some of the qualities you should expect from the referred dentist when you recommend your patients seek oral health treatment outside your practice:

  • Willing to work with you to implement the treatment plan you’ve put in place for your patient.
  • Suitably qualified to perform required procedures.
  • Assurances you’ll be informed of the progress of treatment your patient receives and his or her progress at the referred dentist’s practice.
  • Ongoing commitment to promoting the positive dental health and treatment of your patient.
  • Convenient location for patients to make an easy commute for their dental procedure(s).
  • Sometimes it isn’t only about the amount of experience you have dealing with advanced care needs of some patients. It can also be about the time involved in treating certain conditions or the equipment required to treat patients efficiently. When a patient’s care becomes too time-consuming or requires the purchase of specialized equipment your practice does not ordinarily need, it’s time to consider more cost-effective alternatives for your practice.

    Referring these patients to another practice frees up your time to devote to patients who have needs and requirements you can fulfill. It also keeps the referred patients coming back because you showed you were more concerned they get the best care for their conditions even if it meant getting care from another dental practitioner.

    What Does This Mean for the Referred Dentist?

    Being the referred dentist carries a lot of weight and responsibility. You undoubtedly want to know your patients are in good hands.

    We understand this at SDNJ and strive to provide assurances to all referring dentists and referred patients. We consider you our partner and want to make you shine. When we complete your patients’ care in our office, they are referred back to you for their ongoing dental care.

    What Does a Dental Referral Mean for the Patient?

    As a patient, it’s understandable you might feel some degree of concern or caution when going to another dentist. After all, you’ve likely been receiving routine care from your dentist for years. You know the process at your dentist’s office and you’re comfortable with the quality of care you receive there. Your dentist has been there for you over the years to ensure you’re getting the best possible dental care.

    Referring you to another practice for treatment is not something your dentist takes lightly. It’s also not something he or she does without putting a great deal of thought into it. However, there are a few reasons your dentist might refer you to another dentist for treatment. These include:

  • Your specialized treatment needs exceed the scope of your dentist’s expertise.
  • Your dentist lacks the specialized equipment and tools needed to perform your treatment.
  • Your dentist believes it is in your best interest to seek specific treatment from another dentist who has more experience treating complex dental issues.

  • dental referral for patient

    It isn’t a bad thing when your dentist refers you to another practice. In fact, it’s a good thing — it means your dentist is placing your dental health needs first. Being referred to a specialist means you'll be getting care from a dentist who has specialized training to meet your dental care and treatment needs. Beyond the scope of their education, these professionals have invested in special tools to assist them in treating you more efficiently.

    Being referred to a specialist should provide you with greater peace of mind and comfort once you consider all the variables.

    About Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey (SDNJ)

    Before you make the call to send your patient to another practice, like here at SDNJ, it’s essential to learn about the dentist you’re referring your patients to. For instance, here at SDNJ, Dr. James Courey specializes in prosthodontics and has received advanced training in:

    • Implant dentistry
    • Restorative dentistry
    • Cosmetic dentistry
    • Removable and Fixed Dentures
    • TMJ pain relief
    • Sleep Apnea Appliances

    We apply our commitment, dedication, passion and compassion to our entire practice to address complex dental cases — so much so that we’re known as The Complex Case Specialists™. We handle standard and complex cases involving:

    • Oral rehabilitation with dental implants to replace single or multiple teeth
    • Complete or partial dentures
    • Full mouth restorations
    • Crowns
    • Bridges
    • Veneers

    We also provide treatment for patients with unique needs such as:

    • Cleft Palate
    • TMJ dysfunction
    • Congenitally absent teeth
    • Eating disorders
    • After gastric bypass surgery
    • Teeth erosions
    • Complete-arch prostheses
    • Poor placement of implants
    • Craniofacial anomalies
    • Functional deficits from cancer surgery
    • Ectodermal Dysplasias
    • And more

    About Dr. James Courey - Prosthodontist

    Besides his four years of extensive prosthodontic training at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, Dr. James Courey worked as a general practitioner for eight years before going for his post-doctoral training. He understands the precious relationships general practitioners have for their patients.

    Dr. Courey has been voted the Top Dentist in NJ by NJ Monthly for 10 years consecutively. This is high praise earned through his commitment to his craft, but also his commitment to working with other dental professionals throughout the area and providing exceptional care to the patients they’ve referred to SDNJ.

    We are committed to serving patients throughout the Manalapan, NJ, area — including:

    • East Brunswick
    • Englishtown
    • Freehold
    • Marlboro
    • Middlesex County
    • Monmouth County
    • Morganville
    • North Brunswick
    • Old Bridge

    About Dr. Samantha Aaron - Periodontist

    Besides earning her D.M.D. from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Dr. Samantha Aaron obtained her certificate in Periodontology from New York University in 2006. She offers periodontist procedures for patients at SDNJ, including:

    • Dental scaling and root planing
    • Dental bone grafts
    • Gum recontouring
    • Oral cancer screenings
    • Periodontal surgery for gum disease
    • Pocket reduction therapy
    • Sinus augmentation
    • Tooth restoration
    • Pinhole Surgical Technique

    Dr. Aaron participates in continuing education each year to further her skills, knowledge and offerings to her patients.

    During and After Referral Treatment

    While treating your patient, we’ll provide updates on the treatment progress and how your patient responds. When the treatment is complete, we’ll provide you with radiographs and relevant clinical information for your patient records, and then release your patient back to your care.

    Our goal is always to provide exceptional care, outstanding professionalism and to deliver peace of mind to patients and referring dentists alike. We strive to be partners in caring for your patients. We consider you part of a team working to achieve one goal: restore the smiles of your patient.

    Getting Started on the Referral Process at Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey

    SDNJ is committed to providing excellence in treatment and care for complex dental cases. We understand the difficult decision dental professionals face when it comes to referring patients for treatment with another practice. Our goal is to offer assurances that your patients are in good hands and will receive professional and compassionate care from every member of our staff. We’re always happy to discuss your patient’s treatment and care needs with you by phone before a referral.

    SDNJ Referral Process

    We believe that with a difficult decision like referring a patient, easing the process as much as possible is one key way we can help. With this in mind, we’ve provided a simple means for you to refer a patient to us. You can submit referral information to us in one of three ways:

    Email us the patient referral form at

    Call us at (732) 440-3777 with the patient referral information

    Mail the patient referral form to us at: Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey (Dr. Courey) 224 Taylors Mills Rd #110, Manalapan, NJ, 07726

    Once we receive the form with information about your patient, we’ll contact you to get relevant facts and details about your patient’s needs and the treatment plan you’ve created for your patient.

    Contact SDNJ for Your Patient Dental Referral Needs

    We understand that a dental patient referral in Manalapan, NJ, is the highest compliment a specialized prosthodontic dentistry practice can receive. We will work tirelessly to provide outstanding care to your patients to assure you your confidence is not misplaced. Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have and to learn more about our referral services. If you’re a general practitioner, we embrace the opportunity to partner with you. And if you’re a patient, we look forward to helping you improve your smile. Call (732) 410-7101 today.