What makes a good dentist? While the question seems simple at first, there are many dynamics at play here…especially if you’re a patient who looks for the most comfortable, relaxing experience or perhaps seeks the most affordable dental treatment available. Indeed, not all dentists are created equal, and in answering the question of how to find a good dentist, an objective look must be taken at quite a few variables.
It has been the American Dental Association’s stance that when searching for a dentist:
• Ask family, friends, neighbors or co-workers for their recommendations
• Inquire of the family doctor or local pharmacist for a suggestion
• Contact your local or state dental society (the ADA provides a list of local and state societies on its website, ada.org.)
• Call or visit more than one office prior to selecting/deciding on one
How to Find a Good Dentist and What to Look For
Because you and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners, you need to be comfortable with him or her; in finding a suitable dentist to meet your needs, consider the following:
• What are the office hours…are they convenient for your schedule?
• Is the office easily accessible from home or work?
• What’s the dental professional’s background with regard to education and training?
• What is the dentist’s approach when it comes to preventative dentistry?
• Just how often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
• If visiting the dentist makes you anxious, what kind of anesthesia is he or she certified to administer to help you feel more comfortable during any necessary dental procedure?
• Are there any arrangements made by the office to handle emergencies outside of office hours? Important to note here is that many dentists will make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.
• During the “comparison shopping” stage when searching out a dentist, ask for estimates on common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, oral exams and cleanings and cavity fillings; ask if information is provided regarding all fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled.
The Signs of a Good Dental Office
• Office appears to be neat, clean and orderly with all surfaces and equipment in examination rooms appearing clean.
• Staff is helpful and willing to answer questions.
• The staff can be observed wearing gloves and other protective gear during patient treatment.
In considering these last elements, it should be understood that cleanliness is often just a miniscule variable in the majority of most people’s eyes…but it nevertheless is a major aspect at the same time. You must bear in mind that you are preparing to let a total stranger do work in your mouth that just so happens to be one of the most significant, delicate elements of your body; also consider that this is the leading area that is most prone to sickness and infections. The worst thing any of us would want – or need – is a nasty gum infection, since it tends to make being able to eat and indulge in your daily culinary fantasies nearly impossible.
At first, finding the right dentist can seem like an overwhelming task…but doesn’t everything we’re not used to? It gets a great deal easier once you know where to search to find good candidates, what to look for when comparing them and ultimately what questions to ask in determining which office best fits your situation/lifestyle and needs. Also important to consider is exactly what level of specialist you need – is it one that can perform an implant procedure in addition to installing the abutment and crown? Do you require a trained and certified oral/maxillofacial surgeon or periodontist for routine surgery or someone who can perform additional procedures such as bone grafts and sinus augmentations?
In general, what you should be looking for is a quality dentist practice – such as Park Avenue Dental of Florida – boasting a solid reputation in their community, an honest approach with their patients regarding their dental health and a willingness to discuss upfront costs. These tactics will go a long way when Googling such terms as “what makes a good dentist,” “when to see a dentist,” “what do dentists do” and “find a good dentist in my area.”
Find out for yourself why Dr. Sherman and Park Avenue Dental have been named one of America’s Best Dentist’s and request an appointment today!