Choosing a Dentist

Here are some of my thoughts on Choosing a Dentist:

It is important for you to have a dentist who takes a sincere interest in your general health, as well as, your oral health. For successful dental care, it makes sense to select and become acquainted with a dentist before a dental emergency arises.

Dentists in general practice are fully qualified to provide all aspects of dental care. They will, however, refer certain cases to specialists, if necessary.

Before selecting a dentist, you may want to consider several. Just because Dentists have dental degrees doesn’t mean they all practice alike. Here are some ways you can locate a qualified dentist: ask your parents, friends, neighbors, or co-workers to recommend a dentist or speak to your family physician or local pharmacist or contact a local dental specialist, such as an oral surgeon, for a referral.

Keep the following questions in mind:

  • Is the dentist prevention oriented?
  • Does the dentist provide oral health instruction and education?
  • Does the dentist seem genuinely interested in your general health situation?
  • How available is the dentist?
  • What arrangements does the dentist have for handling emergencies that occur outside of office hours?
  • After considering the recommendations, call a dentist for an appointment. At your first visit, you should be able to learn a lot about whether he or she is the right dentist for you.

Try to Evaluate the following:

  • Is the general appearance of the office appealing?
  • Is the dentist and the dentist’s staff courteous?
  • Is the appointment schedule convenient for you?

Your dentist should be willing to discuss fees and payment plans in advance of treatment.

Be open and frank when consulting your dentist. Do not try to establish your own diagnosis. Let your dentist evaluate your particular health situation and give him all the information he needs. Then discuss the possible treatment plans suggested for your particular case.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask the dentist about fees. Your dentist should be willing to discuss fees and payment plans in advance of treatment. No dentist will begin treatment without your consent or approval. Your first appointment may be limited to a simple diagnostic consultation. If your oral health situation is particularly complex, it may be reassuring to consult another dentist for a second opinion.

By spending the small amount of time necessary to make an intelligent choice of a dentist, you will help create a harmonious relationship founded on mutual trust and respect.

It’s a fact of life: State licensing boards attempt to establish minimum standards of practice in the community. Unfortunately, most of us choose to demand more than that from those with whom we place our trust and our family’s health.

Consumers not only want to know how to spend their money wisely, they want assurances about the quality of dental care they receive. Because dental care is a highly personalized health service that varies from patient to patient, it is difficult to provide hard-and-fast rules about what is “good” dentistry. The following offers some broad but useful guidelines for the consumer.

You can have a good experience with dentistry by making the right choice of a family dentist and by practicing good oral health care at home between dental visits. Be certain the practice stresses preventive care and that 24 hour emergency treatment is available. Expect the staff to be friendly and treat you as an individual, not “another mouth.” The office should be comfortable, clean, and well organized. Don’t be embarrassed to ask the dentist about fees. The dentist and his/her staff should be willing to discuss fees and/or financial arrangements in advance of treatment.