Choosing a new primary care doctor or specialist is an important decision, more so as you get older. Not all doctors have the experience required to care for older patients. Additionally, not all doctors are comfortable caring for older patients. When seeking medical treatment, you want someone who will be comfortable to talk to about your health concerns and conditions. It would be best if you had someone who will listen to your medical questions and recommend an effective treatment plan.
Having a relationship with your primary care doctor is a major concern for older patients, as they tend to need several specialists. Besides needing a primary care doctor, you may also need a Periodontist, cardiologist, and or an orthopedic surgeon, for instance. The main goal of a primary care doctor is to offer medical treatment and coordinate care with your other specialists. Knowing this, as you look for a new medical specialist, we’ve compiled these three tips to help you find a new specialist, so keep reading.
1. Consider the professional’s level of experience.
As we age, we become at risk for several oral health issues such as periodontal disease, root decay, darkened teeth, teeth loss, dry mouth, and uneven jawbones, to mention a few. Age alone is not the main cause of weak oral health. Other health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and anemia, may make it difficult to perform tasks such as brushing and flossing teeth. A change in medication may also affect oral health and expose one to dental problems that may result in dental treatment.
Periodontal disease also referred to as gum disease, is more common in older patients. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque or poor oral hygiene. Plaque is an adhesive film that contains bacteria and coats the teeth. When left untreated, it may result in teeth loss as the bacteria destroy the surrounding teeth tissue. A milder form of periodontal disease is called gingivitis and can be treated by a dentist. When left untreated, the disease advances into periodontitis, which then results in teeth loss.
Periodontists are trained to treat and prevent periodontal disease. They can assess the condition of your gums and offer effective periodontal treatment. To treat periodontal disease, you will need an experienced periodontist, one accredited by the American Board of Periodontology. The periodontists at the Rutgers Health University Dental Associates periodontics team are board-certified dental professionals who strive to offer periodontal treatment procedures using the least invasive methods possible.
With offices located in New Brunswick and Newark, Rutgers Health University Dental Associates offers periodontal treatment to New Jersey residents. To learn more about periodontal disease and available periodontal treatments from their dentists, you can schedule an appointment with them through their website.
2. Seek a second opinion.
When you get a second opinion, you seek a new doctor’s medical insights following a proposed treatment plan or diagnosis from your current doctor. You can ask your current doctor to recommend another doctor or specialist as any good doctor will welcome the confirmation of his diagnosis. However, the second doctor should not be directly affiliated with your current doctor; this avoids the possibility of shared insights. If you are uncomfortable asking your current doctor for a referral, medically accredited websites like MediFind can connect you to a database of experts.
Further to this, second opinions are important because they allow you to make an informed decision before embarking on a new treatment plan. Consulting with multiple experts is also a great way to ensure that you are receiving the best treatment for your medical condition. A 2017 study administered by the Mayo Clinic found that about 90% of patients who get a second opinion on their condition receive a revised diagnosis. What’s more, 21% of patients seeking a second opinion received a new diagnosis. The implications of this being that about one in five people received an incorrect diagnosis. Further to this, a 2016 study by John Hopkins found medical errors to be the third major cause of death within the United States.
Second opinions are critical in instances where you’re making an important treatment decision. Invasive treatment options that may have long term consequences may require a second opinion, especially if they are irreversible. Additionally, if you are unsure of your diagnosis, seeking a second opinion may help you clarify the cause of your symptoms. Some medical conditions are difficult to diagnose, and a second doctor or specialist may offer a different perspective.
Second opinions are recommended for rare, serious, life-threatening, and complicated health conditions. However, you can seek a second opinion at any point in your medical care. Because second opinions can lead to inexpensive treatment plans, most insurance providers encourage a second opinion. Before scheduling your second opinion consultation, make sure that your health plan covers this and any other additional medical services you may require.
Before your consultation, have your current doctor send your medical records and test results (if any) to the second doctor. This ensures that the second doctor has sufficient time to look over your medical records, further avoiding unnecessary repetition of diagnostic tests. As per the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) stipulations, patients must provide written permission to their current doctor, allowing them to forward any test results or medical records.
3. Consider a geriatrician.
A geriatrician is a primary care doctor whose specialty is treating medical conditions that affect the elderly. Geriatric medicine is a rare specialty because Medicare has a low compensation rate, meaning that many geriatricians make less money than other medical specialists. When seeking out a geriatrician, ensure your doctor is a board-certified geriatric medicine practitioner. Also, make sure that your insurance health plan is accepted and you are comfortable with the individual doctor.
Investing in your health is also a great way to invest in your finances. This is because if you invest in your health today, you are preventing future illnesses. In the same way you have never heard of any Yieldstreet complaints, you will never go wrong by investing in your health.