7 Secrets to Finding the Right Dentist

You've moved to a new area and are looking to get established.
Your insurance coverage changed and you need a new provider.
You haven't been to the dentist in years, but ouch, something in there is starting to hurt!
Whatever the reason, you have found yourself looking for a new dentist. But where to begin?

The truth is most people have no idea. Finding the right dentist can be an overwhelming process all on its own, but with all the reviews, ratings, and other information that now saturate the internet, it is even more tempting to avoid sifting through them all and just settle with the first office you see on Yelp.

As a dental office that has seen patients living with the consequences of choosing the wrong dentist, we can tell you that settling is a mistake. While you might plan on seeing your dentist only once or twice a year, even those two appointments can have a major impact on your oral health. How do you tell the good from the bad? Here are seven things you should know about how to make the best choice.

Secret #1: Ask about education, experience and affiliations.

Dentistry is an evolving field, with new developments to improve patient care emerging regularly.

Secret #2: Make sure the latest technology is used.

Advances in dentistry are accompanied by advances in the tools dentists use. In order to get the best possible care, look for a dentist that invests in the latest technology. Some of the most important things to look for are:

Secret #3: Choose a dentist who provides a variety of services.

Finding a great dentist takes time and effort. So it’s best to apply that energy finding one who performs a wide scope of dentistry. A dentist with dynamic training, who practices multiple disciplines, will bring their expertise to every procedure, providing you with greater value. You’ll also save money using the dentist you trust.

Secret #4: Ask for a tour.

A tour of the office reveals important characteristics. Request one before your first appointment. You’ll get a sense of the cleanliness, the attention to detail and how you’ll be treated as a patient. You’ll see if the staff is helpful and happy to be there. And you’ll get the opportunity to ask all your questions.

Secret #5: Look for evidence.

The best dentist has a track record of satisfied patients. So it’s wise to read their patient reviews. If you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry, dental implants and other elective procedures, ask about case studies. The dentist should be able to present before-and-after pictures and discuss how he or she helped patients with similar issues.

Secret #6: Learn how the dentist reduces or eliminates pain.

Let’s face it. Dentistry without anesthesia would be a very painful proposition. But not all dentists treat it the same; some are more sensitive to your individual needs than others. Look for a dentist who provides the options you need. Topical anesthetic and shots are routine, but ask how the doctor administers them and evaluates pain during procedures. Ask if nitrous oxide is available, as well as oral concious sedation.

If you have a real aversion to shots, substantial fear about dental work, or physical disabilities, then see if the dentist provides conscious sedation dentistry. A dentist who is experienced with this can provide all the work you need with no pain and little to no memory of the procedure.

Secret #7: Get treated as a whole person, not just teeth & gums.

There is overwhelming evidence that your oral health and total health are connected. This means what affects the mouth affects the whole person. E.g. studies show patients with gum disease are more likely to experience other issues like cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Likewise, what affects the whole person affects the mouth. So things like poor nutrition and stress can actually cause dental disease and its symptoms.

Find the dentist with a thorough understanding of this connection, who emphasizes an integrative approach to dentistry. You’ll benefit from more educated diagnoses and improved preventive care while learning how to live healthier and happier overall.

Eileen Director of HR at Total Health Dental Care

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