Choose your Dentist Wisely

Let's face it.  Beggars can't be choosers.  If you wait until you need a dentist to start a relationship, you really limit your options.  Oral health affects your overall health.  So make it a priority to find a dentist who is worthy of your trust.  Ask friends and colleagues if they recommend their dentists.  If you have dental insurance, cross reference your short list against the directory of local providers.   Finally, consider the following criteria before becoming a patient of record:

Tour the Practice  Is the office in a good location that is easy to find?  Is there adequate parking?  These two factors are good indicators as to whether the dentist tends to stay on schedule.  Do the people in the waiting room seem content?  How about the patients who are leaving?   When considering cosmetic work, ask for before and after photos of work done by the particular dentist you plan to use.  

Technology  Does the dentist keep up with emerging technology?  Is the equipment well-maintained?  Can he/she show you areas of concern and educate you about your options?  Does he/she participate in continuing education regularly and demonstrate knowledge of the latest dental research, equipment, techniques and materials? Does the dentist keep an AED on site?

Medical Background  Does the dentist show an interest in your complete medical history?  Does he/she explain the connection between oral health and overall health?  Does the dentist screen for oral cancer?

Sterilization Is the office clean and well organized?  What sterilization techniques are employed?  Are the dental water lines treated to prevent bacterial contamination?  

Bedside Manner/Accessibility Will you be seeing the same dentist consistently?  How long has the dentist you plan to see been affiliated with the practice?  Are your concerns addressed promptly?  Is your dentist accessible when you need him/her?  What is the wait for a regular cleaning?  Are emergencies seen the same day?  Is the dentist willing to work with you - wait and see, revisit problems, etc.  Is the support staff helpful?  

Services Make sure that the dentist regularly provides the range of services you need at prices you can afford.  Does he/she participate with your insurance?  Does he/she guarantee dental work for six months?  A year?  Does the dentist offer a payment plan?   Does he/she see adults and children?  What kinds of cases does he/she refer out?   What percentage of his work is restorative?  Cosmetic?   A good dentist knows when to involve a specialist.