We all know that quadrant dentistry, or treating multiple teeth in a quadrant during one visit, is beneficial to both patients and dental offices for a variety of reasons. The patient benefits from fewer dental appointments and less time away from work, while the office benefits from increased production in fewer visits. Maximizing chair time with fewer patients leads to reduced costs for staffing and office space and enables a higher quality of care. Most dentists would prefer to do more dentistry on one patient than to jump from treatment room to treatment room, managing more patient personalities and more potential risk factors. Although these benefits are widely understood among dental professionals, quadrant dentistry is not as frequently discussed with patients-nor is it presented in a way that encourages patients to schedule treatments.
Presenting a quadrant or a whole mouth of dentistry, as opposed to a single tooth, can cause a practitioner trepidation. The benefits of early treatment and the savings inherent in performing multiple-tooth dentistry are real, but the skills required to present it are different from those used to communicate the need for immediate restoration of a single tooth. A practitioner needs to have confidence that he or she is, indeed, providing the patient with the best care possible when multiple teeth are restored in one sitting.
If multiple restorations are going to the laboratory, let the patient know that the teeth done at the same time will not just fit together better-but they will also be done by the same ceramist, be the same color, and even be made to look like they belong in the same mouth. If they are done at separate times, let the patient know that you will need to make the teeth fit the existing occlusion and contacts, and future treatment will not fit ideally with the new restorations. If we can only repair what is broken or breaking down one at a time, we do not have the opportunity to make the patient's whole mouth better or "smarter" to prevent future problems.