When Should I Be Retreating for Free?

In some situations, finishing orthodontics cases may not always be as straightforward as it ought to be. This can leave you potentially having to offer free retreatments and revisions as part of your orthodontics service – which can no doubt have a vast impact on your bottom line. But when should you be retreating for free? Well, this largely depends on the paperwork that was completed at the time of booking orthodontics treatments.
What Paperwork Should I Be Completing?
As part of your orthodontics service, ensuring you have provided patients with the necessary information and paperwork is crucial.
A good retainer program is one of the most important aspects of reducing the need for free retreatment in your orthodontics cases. Indeed, a successful retainer program is vital for finishing cases successfully; however, it’s also integral that the patient and staff understand this fully. You’ll also need to ensure the patient signs all of the necessary paperwork and that there is a suitable aftercare plan in place to monitor results when finishing cases. Provided all of these factors are met, the cause of the problems will likely be the patient’s fault for not following instructions, and you usually won’t be liable for providing free retreatments.
Some key questions to ask yourself when determining when you should be retreating for free are:
1. Do you have the right paperwork?
2. Did the patient understand and sign the right paperwork?
3. Do you have a policy, and what does this cover (e.g., warranties, retreatments, breakage, retainer visits, missed visit protocols, etc)?
4. Did the patient understand and sign the right policy?
5. Did you complete thorough documenting?
6. Did your front office contact the patient for their retention appointments / recall?
These questions can help you determine who is at fault in a retreatment case – helping you decide who is liable to pay when finishing cases with retreatment. However, if you have a particularly valuable long-term, high-value patient, you may want to consider offering a free retreatment or a partially-free treatment to thank them for their loyalty and support.
Overall, developing a good after-care policy is essential to reduce the risk of retreatments (and, critically, to protect your business from having to fund these retreatments due to the patient’s fault). However, always keep in mind that, before you retreat (be it paid or for free), any newly arisen or previously missed issues will need fixing first.