How do you find a good dentist? Obviously a referral from a family member or friend is probably the best way. But if that is not an option, here are some other ways:
Check the internet, and check websites. Does the website look like the dental office put some thought into it? Does it have before and after photos of that dentist’s work?
Call the local Dental Association-for example, here in New Jersey, it’s the New Jersey Dental Association base in New Brunswick.
Check the list from Consumers Research Council of America. They pick the top dentists by amount of years in practice, continuing education, and name recognition in the community.
When you find a dentist you might want to visit here are some things to look for:
How does the person answering the phone treat you? Are you just another caller, or do they listen to your concerns and answer your questions? Do they offer to give you a tour of the facility?
Do they offer you a chance to meet the dentist before any treatment is started? How does the facility look? Is it clean, modern, and up-to-date? If it’s dirty with furnishings from the 1970’s, chances are the dentistry is out of date. The technology has changed so quickly, you want to find an office that is on the cutting edge.
When you meet the dentist, does he let you talk and actually listen to you? Or does he just go into a monolog of what you need, and what services he wants to perform on you? Does he address your concerns and needs? A good dentist will take the time to get to know you and listen to you.
It’s probably a good sign if the dentist dresses professionally, and creates a good first impression.
If he takes pride in his/her appearance, chances are he’ll take pride in his work.
Ask the dentist about his education and experience. Does he keep up with continuing education? Just because he has a diploma on the wall, it doesn’t mean he is current on all the new procedures available in dentistry today. Some things you can ask about are: lasers, bonding, invisalign, lumineers, implants, whitening products and all porcelain restorations. We’ll go into some of these things at a later date.
When a treatment plan is given to you, make sure you understand your financial obligations. Are they presented clearly to you?
Remember, you’ll get what you pay for. If you go to a dentist looking to spend as little as possible, chances are you’ll get inferior service. Like anything else in life, better quality usually means more expense. So you need to determine how important your oral health is to you. We’ll also discuss this in a future episode.
Hope some of these ideas help.