Everyone has their own set of characteristics they look for when it comes to choosing a dentist. Some may prefer a dentist that is easy to relate to and who makes the effort to get to know you. Others may prefer a dentist that is quick and gets you in and out of the office in a timely fashion. You need to think about whether you want a dentist that talks to you or gets the job done with little chit-chat.
Despite personal preferences, there are a few traits regarding skills that most people will agree upon. We all want honesty and someone who will take care of our teeth and gums and provides services for a reasonable price. Some things to consider therefore, when searching for a dentist include:
~ Asking family and friends for recommendations or consider asking your family physician for referrals. If you need to relocate, ask your current dentist about services in the new area.
~ Check reviews online even for the dentists your friends recommend. The more you learn about them and their services the easier it is to make a selection.
~ Visit the dental office to confirm if you like them and the staff. Being at the office in person is the best way to identify any red flags.
You need to remember that it takes time to find a good dentist that you will also be happy with. Going to the dentist is not exactly a fun experience so you need to be sure in your selection. Many people have horror stories about their dental visits which adds to the negative stigma associated with dentists. You have to take time off work just to go and wait for a long time in a waiting room. Chances are you were greeted by a receptionist that does not want to be there any more than you.
Once you are in the chair, you have to bite on hard plastic objects and be poked and prodded with all sorts of metal instruments. The dental assistant fumbles around you trying to get x-rays. You get sprayed in the face as the cleaning begins and can both hear and feel the scraping of your teeth. The cleaning is generally followed by a consultation to discuss more work that you need which will only cost more money and more time. None of this sounds pleasing at all, but is the standard opinion of most dental visits.
What if it didn’t have to be that way? Imaging entering a dental office that is clean and bright, with relaxing music playing and a friendly face to greet you. Not only do you get a smile, but you are greeted by name. The wait is short and you are taken straight to a room for x-rays and this does not take long because the dental hygienist is aware of how uncomfortable it is. When it is time for the cleaning, the hygienist is precise and you only get minimal spray to your cheeks. You are left not in a traumatic state but are relaxed and enjoying that fresh, clean feeling.
Even when the dentist comes to talk to you about the fillings you need, you are not pressured into getting them right away nor do you have to pay for them all at once. Whatever fits your budget and schedule works for them. While the dentist will make sure you understand how important it is not to neglect the cavities, they will make arrangements to meet your needs. You can even come up with a payment plan if the work you need is extensive. These two scenarios show exactly why it is important to choose the right dentist.
Commonly Agreed Upon Traits of a Good Dentist
The degree of importance regarding flexibility will depend on you as some people prefer to have a lot of wiggle room for hours and scheduling. Some people need to have appointments sets for outside of the regular 8 to 5 business day. When it comes to follow-up appointments you need to consider if you have to return within 3 or 4 weeks or if there is more availability than that. A booked schedule can indicate a popular dentist, but it can also mean you have appointments pushed further out. This may not be a positive factor when your suffering with a toothache.
2. Clean Office
You are guaranteed to have a more positive experience if you walk into an office that is clean and orderly. If the place does not look clean and organized, is that really the est place to have your teeth worked on. Pay close attention to the dentist and hygienist to make sure they change their gloves diligently. They may have to alter the lighting, or dig through some drawers and you do not really want those germs going into your mouth.
3. Short Wait Time
An efficient dental office will strive to reduce the patient wait time without jeopardizing the service itself. Outside of emergencies that may require you to wait a little longer, there is no reason you should be sitting in the waiting area for extended periods of time. Good dentists will be punctual and if you are left waiting too long, this may be a sign that they do not value your time.
4. Payment Flexibility
For the most part dental work is expensive so it is beneficial to find a discount plan to help reduce your costs. Additionally, you want to find a dentist that is willing to work out payment plans with you or offer to split the treatments up over more time so you can afford it. You want a dentist that understands how finances can be impacted when it comes to payment for your dental work.
5. No Upselling
A good dentist will never try to push products or upsells on to you. Dentists may mention their products and upsells like a new electronic toothbrush, but they will never push too hard or make you feel pressured. After you tell them you are not interested, the matter is dropped and some will not even talk about upsells. For the most part there will just be signs and advertisements around the office for you to inquire about should you be interested.
You want a personable dentist like Dr. Ryan Kaltio a dentist in Richmond BC that asks you questions and gets to know you as well as your medical history. Not only does this inspire confidence in their abilities but it helps you to feel comfortable and trusting. A dentist that actively listens to you and asks follow-up questions to previous conversations you have had. Maybe they remember a trip you were taking or ask about some birthday plans. It also helps when they discuss future treatments with you that may cause you anxiety. For example, if you do not like needles, your dentist remembers this and distracts you from that part of the procedure.
You can learn a great deal about the dentist from their staff. If they seem happy and enjoy their jobs, chances are the dentist treats them well. While it is always a possibility that a person can be having a bad day, you don’t want to see employees speaking badly to each other or being disrespectful. Those are not characteristics of a person you want working on you.
8. Follow Ups
It can be really easy for a dentist to complete a procedure and walk away. Not just physically walking away, but treating it like it is done and over with. This leaves patients feeling a little abandoned. You want a dentist that checks in with you afterward to see how you are feeling and if the treatment worked.
9. Answers Questions
A good dentist will happily answer all your questions fully and honestly. On your first visit, go prepared with a list of questions to see how they respond. If the questions are avoided or rushed or even brushed aside, then this is cause for concern about the dentist’s patience and approach.
Some people want a dentist that is quick and to the point whereas others need more attention. Regardless of your dental needs and preferences, it is wise to research first and make sure you are completely comfortable with the dental office you choose. The procedures are never fun, but the right dentist for you can make it less of a burden.