Do We Refer Out and Why?

Why a dental referral to a specialist?

Drs. Ryan Lepore and Erin Dougherty play a critical role in their patient’s oral health. However, in certain circumstances, it may be crucial for a patient to be seen by a specialist as part of their treatment. Every dentist must know when it’s appropriate to treat a patient and when to work in tandem with a specialist. The dental industry, like the medical industry, has undergone a major transformation in the past years, becoming more and more specialized. This has enabled the providers to deliver a more custom level of care with the highest quality. General dentists perform a variety of procedures that are suited to their skill levels and preference for treatment. However, no two general practitioners practice the same. The general practitioner plays an integral role as the first point of contact and provides quality dental care within the scope of their training, expertise, and experience. They will refer to dental specialists for more specialized care that is not within their expertise to ensure the best result for you, the patient. The motivation behind coordinating therapy among various experts in specific fields of dental medicine is to adequately support the patient’s overall dental health care while maintaining the highest standards in the industry. For example, general dental practitioners may refer to an endodontist, periodontist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon.

Do You Refer Out & Why?

Benefits of Referring Other Specialists - Dr. Lepore
Dr. Ryan Lepore believes in specializing in certain aspects of dentistry and perfecting it. At the same time at Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry, we want to give you the best customized clinical plan for your dental needs. This is why, over the years, Dr. Lepore has assembled a team comprising several specialists who are renowned in their fields to help him provide you with comprehensive dental care that doesn’t look at just your smile but YOU as a whole.

Hey everybody, Dr. Lepore here again with another question I think that I get asked every single day. So I wanted to bring it to a video topic for you.

“Do I refer things out or do I try to keep as much as possible in-house?” And I think that is a very loaded question. It’s worth some time to talk about it. Over the last few years, I wanted to instill some confidence in you that I have not just got a bunch of referral pads from people to buy me lunch every single day or try to earn my trust. I have assembled a team of people in different specialties in dentistry and in medicine that I would go personally see or send anybody I love and care about.

But why do I do this? And I think of an analogy of contracting on a house. I want my plumber doing the plumbing. I want my electrician doing the electricity. I don’t want my plumber doing the electricity work. And if you think about it from that perspective, my dad used to say, you can only be so good with so many things. It’s really impossible to be excellent at a ton of things. So what I’ve done over the last couple of years is I’ve gotten a root canal specialist, periodontist, someone to move your teeth like an orthodontist, pediatric dentist or primary care physicians, all on a team that I could call at six o’clock at night or eight o’clock in the morning to really plan your case custom for you to get the best treatment for you.
I’m a big fan of staying in your lane, so while I take a ton of continued education, I take it in certain disciplines and I stay in that lane and I make sure that I’m the best possible caretaker for you in that lane. However, I have a team of people that might be better at certain things, and I think it’s really important to humble yourself as a professional and as a practitioner or more importantly, to make sure that your treatment is truly the best. And what is the best? The best means that it’s going to look good. It’s going to feel good. And it’s going to last a long time. So if I know in my heart of hearts that I need a specialist to do my work, if I would go to an orthodontist to handle my braces, if I would go to a periodontist to handle my gums, then why should it be any different for you as my patients?

So have confidence when you get that referral piece of paper that it’s not just me saying, “Go see this person, they’ll figure your problem out”. They’re just gonna be part of your clinical team to get you the best comprehensive care that you possibly can to make things last as long as possible. I hope I answered this question. I hope you have confidence in the team that I’ve taken so much care and time in trying to assemble over the last couple of years, because I know that that’s who I would go to.


Drs. Lepore and Dougherty have vowed that they would only treat their patients to the standard of care which they would expect for themselves or their families.

In reflection, “If I myself wouldn’t go to a general dentist to have a root canal completed, and instead would insist on going to a specialist, why should I treat my patients any different?”

What does this mean if you’re being referred to a specialist?

It’s understandable that as a dental patient of Dr. Lepore or Dr. Dougherty, you might feel cautious about seeing another doctor in a different location. Referring you to a specialist is not a decision that Drs. Lepore and Dougherty take lightly. They fully believe in providing the best care for long-term oral and systemic health. The specialists on their team are practitioners that they themself would feel confident working on them. Drs. Lepore and Dougherty often say to our patients, “This type of referral is not like your standard medical referral whereby you’re handed a piece of paper and told to schedule an appointment. These specialists are people that I have worked so closely with that I can call them at six in the evening on a Sunday to discuss your specific case. Our team knows their teams as much as they know ours.”

You may be referred for the following treatments:

During and After a Referral to a Specialist 

During your dental care, your specialist and Drs. Lepore and Dougherty stay in constant contact regarding your treatment progression, and our team ensures that you come back to us to receive your follow-up care.



Dr. Richard Rasmussen III

Why Dr. Rick thinks Lepore Dentistry is the best!

Healthcare Professionals Testimonial - Dr. Richard
Dr. Rick Rasmussen has known Dr. Lepore for quite some time ranging back to college years, where Dr. Lepore’s extraordinary skill and commitment to the profession came to light. Dr. Rick speaks about how Dr. Lepore stood out from his colleagues by always investing his time to improve and better himself whilst striving to do and be the best dentist in his class.

My name is Dr. Rick Rasmussen and I am a periodontal surgeon in Tampa Bay and my surgical specialty focuses on the surgical management of basically treating the bone and the gums around the teeth – the place with the dental implants as well as the treatments with periodontal disease and I have been very fortunate to work with doctor Lepore for the past seven years. Unique story – I actually first met Dr. Lepore when I was a resident at the university of Florida Shane’s hospital and Doctor Lepore was a fourth year dental student and what really impressed me about Dr. Lepore at the time was that unlike al the other dental students he was the only dental student in the class that spent the extra time to come after school after work he came and he would shadow me during surgeries and he would ask me a lot of questions and it was very obvious that Dr. Lepore wanted to be the best dentist in his class and he was just very very interested and passionate about dentistry as a whole. Fast-forward ten years and Dr. Lepore and I happen to be in the same city in Tampa practicing in a private practice and simply put nothing has changed. As a specialist I work with hundreds of different dentists in the area doing mutual patient care and out of all those dentists doctor Lepore to this day is still the dentist who I would honestly say spends the most time and the most effort per patient when it comes to corresponding on cases, when it comes to treatment planning cases, when it comes to discussing cases – and that makes a big big difference in comprehensive care and I believe that Doctor Lepore is a very knowledgeable dentist, I believe that he is a very personable dentist but above all else in my opinion I think that what separates Doctor Lepore from any other dentist is the level of commitment he provides to each individual patient and I can attest that he treats every patients like his family member – he knows, and I know this as well that when a patient walks in his door they will receive the best possible care and they will receive the best possible outcome


Dr. Robert Haller

Dr. Robert Haller discusses his professional relationship with Dr. Lepore and why he particularly finds his working relationship enjoyable with Dr. Lepore’s patients

Healthcare Professionals Testimonial - Dr. Robert Haller
As an Endodontic specialist, Dr. Robert Haller works with many patients. He truly appreciates those from Dr. Lepore due to the comprehensive and precise planning that shows the effort and true compassion that Dr. Lepore and his team have for patients and all those who require their help.

My name is Dr. Robert Haller, and I’m an Endodontist with Endodontic Associates. I’ve been there for quite a few years. We provide root canal therapy, surgeries, and any services related to the health of the dental pulp, inside the tooth. I specialize a lot not only in that specialty but in compassionate and gentle care with patients receiving a lot of additional training in sedation, relaxation techniques. That’s one of the reasons I particularly like working with Dr. Lepore, and that he provides a lot of very caring and compassionate treatment but along with very, very thorough examination and thorough treatment planning for his complex cases. I feel that getting the input of specialists is particularly important in complex dental treatment plans, and Dr. Lepore has often sent me thorough letters of potential treatment plans and requests the input of an endodontist for the preparation for these cases. I think that’s very important when you are planning out a complex case. When we have a complex dental treatment plan, I give input on the health of the pulp prior to the restorative work that Dr. Lepore is doing, and this helps prevent surprises and helps us to take care of the patient in a painless manner so that things are dong very methodically and are thought out by the patient and by the doctors involved. It’s very enjoyable when I get a patient who hasn’t had a lot of dental work; they have a lot of dental needs, and I get to relieve their pain by using several endodontic procedures, and when they return to Dr. Lepore, they have a lot of restorative needs. Occasionally I get to see that patient back, they may have a follow-up need in that particular area, and I get to see how they are so happy and so excited to be in a much better dental position than they were when I first saw them. It’s very enjoyable working with Dr. Lepore because his patients—I can just sense that they feel very cared for, and they are very relaxed coming from his office. Of course, I know that they are going to get good follow-up care after I have done the work that I need to do in preparation.


Dr. Nicolas Mann

Dr. Jeremy Albert

Dr. Jeremy Albert explains what makes Dr. Lepore a one of a kind dentist

Healthcare Professionals Testimonial - Dr. Jeremy Albert
As an orthodontist, Dr. Jeremy Albert discusses how meticulous Dr. Lepore is about his patients and practically every aspect that he is involved in – from treatment that is provided to prepping the patients to referral letters for further treatment. As a specialist he works with several doctors but Dr. Lepore’s patients stand out because they are truly cared for.

My name is Dr. Jeremy Albert. I am an orthodontist. I treat patients with Dr. Lepore with braces and Invisalign for adults and children. I work a lot with Dr. Lepore in my palm harbor office since it is very close to his Dunedin location. For orthodontics you really need great healthy teeth before you can actually proceed with the procedures, but Dr. Lepore he takes the time to explain to the and educate them about orthodontics and what the benefits of it might be and what it might involve and before they ever even come to see me so it makes my job easier and I basically have to just explain to them some specifics and a lot of times it is reiteration and a lot of it is about the same points that Dr. Lepore made you know about the benefits of my treatment added to his dental treatment as well. I would say one of the biggest strengths that Dr. Lepore offers out to his patients is the communication that he has with us with other providers that work interdisciplinary with him as well whether it is orthodontics or pediatric dentist or any Endodontics and all. He really he takes the time I mean it is well thought out and I get it – the letters that I kind of get from him it kind of details and brings me up to speed about what the patient has been through already and what his concerns are, if their treatment is moving forward, what he might see orthodontics involving, so helping them out and I always get that from every office you know some dentists will say go see the orthodontist and they will tell you what to do and it makes it a little harder to know what the expectations are from the dentists and the patient and it is a strength of his, basically the captain of the treatment and we basically meet together communicate and make sure that our little our sections of dentistry or our specialties of dentistry are working together to provide what he wants. Interdisciplinary treatment is really important to get the best results that we can for the patients in dentistry. There is a lot of things that Dr Lepore is very skilled and is very versatile in. As an orthodontist I receive a lot of patients you know that come referred to me from general dentists and I get to see a lot of different types of work and quality of work and all and the patients I see from Dr. Lepore’s office are always very well cared for. Those patients know that they are receiving the best care they can and I will tell them that as well too because I always see his work and over many years with our patients that we have worked together with already and I would not hesitate if there were a patient that was looking for a dentist in his area to recommend Dr. Lepore – he is very thorough he is very educated and he is everything that you would expect a dental professional to be because dentistry is not only not just the procedures and the sill of doing the dentistry. It is the communication, it is the education of the Patients, and it is the desire to get the best results for him and those are all things that I think he excels at and I tell any patient that sees him that they are in great hands and I look forward to helping in any small way that I can to improve the results that he is going to get for them moving forward.

Airway-Driven Orthodontics:

Dr. Alex Johnson

Oral Surgery:

Dr. Shaun Young

Dr. Shaun Young talks about his professional relationship with Dr. Lepore

Dr. Shaun's professional relationship with Dr. Lepore
Dr. Shaun walks us through his 3 years of work experience with Dr. Lepore and admires him for his passion, skill and holistic approach in treating his patients. He finds Dr. Lepore to be very innovative in terms of sequencing his treatment to give the patient real value for money when it comes to his treatment and care.

Hey everyone, my name is Dr. Shaun Young. I am an oral and maxillo facial surgeon and I have been working with Doctor Lepore for almost 3 years now so I understand his practice philosophies and he is someone I really trust and I think the thing I love most about working with him is that he is very thorough and comprehensive – I know that he is always going to look at the big picture and he is always going to do what is best for his patients. I think Dr Lepore has sort of a unique practice philosophy and he is one of the very few dentists that I know who really has a very holistic approach and I know he communicates very well with any internal medicine doctors and so he sort of takes a very systematic approach to his oral care which I think is very important as obviously more studies are showing and the longer that these things start coming out we are learning more about importance of overall health care when it comes to your mouth so I think doctor Lepore’s approach to that is very innovative and he has a very holistic approach and that definitely is something that sets him apart from most dentists. I think the more specialists that doctor Lepore sends his patients to it sort of helps to support his reasoning for why he is sequencing treatment the way he is, why the foundation needs to be set properly before the definitive elective work and I think he has got a great network of people that he is working with – before I see any patients of Dr. Lepore, he will always send me a letter ahead of time sort of introduce the patient to me, and if the patient has already seen another physician, even a family medical doctor then, he will give me the insight on what is going on, so he has a very nice way of sort of introducing the patent ahead of time so I understand what the process is and why the patient is coming to see me, what is needed, what the goals are and I think that type of communication really helps the patients to trust you because before they even come in you sort of already have a foundation as to why the patient is there and that- as a patient you know you can’t really ask for anything more than that. You know I think first and foremost any physician that I would ever want to refer somebody to or work with is someone that I know has my best interest at heart and somebody that I trust. One of my biggest practice philosophies is to treat any patient like you would treat a family member and I believe that doctor Lepore does that – I trust him to treat myself or any family members I might have – I know that he is always going to do the right thing and to me that is very important.

Dr. Michael Yuan

Pediatric Dentists:

Drs. Maggie Davis and Lorielle Alter

Dr. Maggie Davis provides us with some insight into her professional relationship with Dr. Lepore

Healthcare Professionals Testimonial - Dr. Maggie Davis
Dr. Maggie Davis is a firm believer in the work ethic and comprehensive dentistry principles that Dr. Lepore follows. She appreciates how much effort he puts into staying abreast of any advancement in the field of dentistry and how he truly cares for the wellbeing of his patients.

The things I love most about working with Doctor Lepore are that he is very thorough and comprehensive, yet he is extremely easy to talk to. As a family man, you can tell that he really truly cares about his patients. Things that separate Dr. Lepore from other dentists that I work with is that Dr. Lepore is constantly learning. He also sees the value in working with other professionals in the team; you can find him on the weekends going to CE courses, travelling always trying to serve his patients better and in serving his patients better, that often means working as a team. Doctor Lepore doesn’t have an ego or an agenda. He simply wants what is best for his patients. Working with doctor Lepore in an interdisciplinary approach is really optimal for patient care. Our training and dental school is broad but that doesn’t make it specialized so it is just like building a home – you wouldn’t enlist just one person to build it from top to bottom. Our mouth is very complex with our gums and teeth and even patient-level anxiety. Dr. Lepore recognizes and sees the value in working as a team to achieve optimal results. Dr. Lepore and I worked really well to optimize patient care by picking up the phone after hours. Dr. Lepore is never shy to give up his personal time to work with members of the community and members of the dental community so that when I receive one of his patients in my office I already knew everything about them that he is taking me from start to finish in the thoroughness of his letter and phone calls to me so that I know how the patient is feeling what are their desires, what is it that he sees so that when they come into my office I can take his pediatric patients and deliver the best-tailored care for them. Dr. Lepore is excellent at wanting the best for his pediatric patients when it comes to comfort and sometimes that means when you have a three-year-old with 6 cavities there might be a different place where they are best served! Dr. Lepore as a dad himself understands that every dental experience should be like Disneyland for a child.

TMJ Specialists:

Dr. Robert Chuong

When you are a patient of Dr. Lepore or Dr. Dougherty, have peace of mind that they are not only doing what is in the best interest of their patients, but they are also confident that their patients are in good hands.

Our Dental Savings Plans

Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry believes that everyone should have access to high-quality dental care and that financial constraints or insurance status shouldn’t stand in the way for anyone to receive such care. That’s why we have introduced Dental Savings Plans as we don’t want you to compromise on your dental health. We have two plans – Standard and Wellness - offered at an annual membership fee of $429 and $729 respectively.

Membership will entitle you to a host of benefits including free and discounted treatments with a focus on your overall health.


There was an insurance billing issue, but they made it right in the end. The level of care received here was excellent.

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We are your "home" in Dunedin for advanced dentistry and functional dental medicine. Within our inviting, highly personalized concierge environment, our team supports your whole "wellness" - not just the beauty and health of your smile!