Regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining good oral health. Approximately half of all adults visit a dentist at least once every six months. With so many types of dentists to choose from, it can be hard to find the right dentist to fit your needs. There are certain things that you can look for to help you choose the best dentist. Here are tips on how to find a trustworthy dentist for a loved one.
Finding a Trustworthy Dentist
Where do you start when looking for a trustworthy dentist? Consider what needs you already have. If you have children, you may want to find a family practice dentist to care for everyone at one time. If you think you may need extensive work done, you may want to visit an orthodontist. Contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers in your area.
When looking for a trustworthy dentist, get a business card from family members and friends of dentists that they would recommend. You can also get recommendations from your doctor. Make sure they are licensed and insured in your state. You can also read online reviews from previous clients on sites such as the Better Business Bureau and social media platforms. These sites can give you important clues on whether or not the dentist you are considering is honest and trustworthy.
Type of Dentist
There are many types of dentists available to help you get the care you need. As you look for a trustworthy dentist, take into consideration what your unique needs are. A family dentist can provide many types of treatment but will refer patients to a specialist for severe issues. If you have children, you may want to seek a pediatric dentist. An endodontic dentist specializes in root canal diseases.
If you need crowns, bridges, or dentures, you may want to seek a prosthetic dentist. A dental pathologist specializes in diagnosing oral diseases through laboratory tests. If you need braces or veneers, you may need to see an orthodontist. Gum diseases are often treated by a periodontist. A maxillofacial surgeon often treats face and jaw abnormalities and fractures.
When looking for the best trustworthy dentist, pay attention to the building that they work in. Sitting in a dentist chair to get dental work done can get chilly, so make sure there is plenty of heating. Make an appointment to have a consultation and have a look around the facility. Is everything clean and organized? Are the staff wearing the proper protective equipment?
Pay attention to the decor and atmosphere of the waiting room. Is there plenty of comfortable seating? The waiting room of a trustworthy dentist should be set at a comfortable temperature and toys to entertain children. Are there long wait times in between patients? If you have to wait more than an hour to be seen, you may want to look for another dentist.
Accessibility plays an important role in choosing the right dentist for your loved one. Is the office near where you live and work? Is there guaranteed parking? How flexible is the dentist’s office when it comes to scheduling appointments? Does the dentist offer after-hours emergency services?
If you have an elderly loved one who lives in assisted living or a nursing home, you’ll want to find a trustworthy dentist in a building that has handicap accessibility. The building should have a ramp and plenty of space to move around with a wheelchair or walker. The waiting room should have no bright lights or excessive noise that could be agitating for people with sensory needs. Dental chairs should be adjustable to accommodate individuals with physical disabilities. A restroom should be available with handicap-accessible toilets with nearby grab bars.
Patient and Business History
When looking for a trustworthy dentist, it’s important to review their patient and business history. Has the dentist been accused of negligence or any other type of dental malpractice? Examine reviews from previous clients carefully for complaints that signal recurrent problems. You can check a dentist’s disciplinary record and licensing information by contacting your state’s health department. You can find out if any legal action has been taken against the dentist by searching the Department of Education’s database.
Another way you can get clues on whether a dentist is trustworthy is to examine their history of involvement with dental practice sales. The dental service organization industry has a history of selling practices to dentists who may not have a patient’s care in their best interest. This can cause issues with misrepresentations and alleged damages. The corporation that owns the practice can tie the hands of the dentist when it comes to treatment options for patients You can consult with dental practice brokers who can give you insights into any shady practices.
Financing and Payment Options
Another important factor when looking for a trustworthy dentist is investigating their financing and payment options. Is the dentist upfront and transparent about treatment costs? You may want to ask how much they charge for common procedures such as oral exams, cleanings, full mouth X-rays, and cavity fillings. Be wary of any dentist that won’t give you pricing information.
Does the dentist accept your insurance plan? What financing and payment plan options are available? Do they submit claims to all insurance providers whether or not they are in the network? Be wary of a dentist that recommends or pressures you to have unnecessary or expensive treatment options if you don’t have a history of dental issues. You may want to consider getting a second opinion.
You may want to think about the insurance policies you have when trying to find a trustworthy dentist for a loved one. You may want to be wary of dental insurance policies. Some untrustworthy dentists accept dental insurance policies as a way to get patients in the door. With these policies, they offer free or low-cost dental cleanings or exams and then tell patients they need expensive treatments. These unnecessary treatments may only be partially covered by your dental insurance and forces you to spend money you don’t have to.
You may also want to check your insurance policy for dental malpractice or personal injury coverage. If you get injured by a dentist, you may want to find an attorney to help you file a lawsuit to receive compensation to pay for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Issues that can be considered dental malpractice include failing to diagnose or treat a harmful condition, delaying a diagnosis or treatment, and using defective equipment. If you believe you are a victim of dental malpractice, look for an injury lawyer online that deals specifically with dental malpractice cases.
Another thing you may want to consider when looking for a trustworthy dentist is any additional services they may offer. Dentists offer a wide range of services other than routine cleanings and exams. Many dentists may offer cosmetic dentistry, implants, dentures, and orthodontic treatments such as braces. Some dentists offer additional services such as nutritional counseling, preventative care, and relaxation techniques. A dentist may refer a patient to a specialist such as an oral surgery practice for evaluation or treatment.
You may want to inquire about anesthesia options when looking for a trustworthy dentist for a loved one. Common sedation methods include nitrous oxide and local or general anesthesia. Some dentists are able to treat issues with sleep apnea or offer TMD and TMJ therapy related to problems with the jawbone. Some dentists also provide root canals and wisdom teeth removal. Ask the dentist about all the services they offer and compare them with other dentists in your area.
You may want to consider a dentist’s professional demeanor when looking for dental care services for a loved one. How well does the dentist get to know his patients? Some people like dentists that get to know the personal lives of their patients, while others may prefer a dentist who is quick and to the point with their care. Does the dentist actively listen and respond to questions or concerns about treatment? Do they treat their staff with respect?
A trustworthy dentist often educates his patients about their dental health in terms they can understand. They take time to help the patient understand their options without having to use a condescending or demeaning tone. Pay attention to how the staff interacts with each other when you approach the receptionist’s desk for your consultation appointment. Does the staff seem friendly and respectful to each other? If the employees appear to be unhappy about their work or each other, you may want to find another dentist.
Proof and Guarantees
A trustworthy dentist will be able to show proof of the work that they do. When you make a consultation appointment, ask to see before and after photos from their previous clients. Many dentists provide these photos on their own websites. This is significantly important if you are having major surgery or extensive treatment. If the dentist doesn’t supply these before and after photos, you may want to seek care from another dentist.
A quality dentist will also back up their work with a guarantee. If you’re unhappy with the work that has been done, the dentist will give you your money back or make the necessary repairs at no additional cost. These guarantees can last for 10 years or more, depending on the work that’s being done. The options for guarantees vary among each dentist. You may want to ask about these guarantees and compare them with other dentists before making your final decision.
Hygiene Safety and Cleaning Protocols
A trustworthy dentist has cleaning strategies and protocols to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their patients. Pay attention to how the dentist and staff work with their patients. Do they wash their hands and change their gloves in between patients? Is the dental equipment cleaned and sanitized? Are the chairs wiped down in between patients and are the floors clean and surfaces dust-free?
With COVID-19, the dentist and their staff should be wearing face masks, gloves, and face shields when working with patients. Patients in waiting rooms should have enough room to be seated at least six feet apart. Temperature checks may be done before a patient is allowed to enter the office. Telehealth services should be offered to help protect patients. If you notice that the dentists and staff are not changing their equipment and gear between patients, you may want to seek a more reputable dentist.
Science and technology are constantly changing in dentistry. It’s critical that a dentist has up-to-date equipment to serve their patients. A trustworthy dentist makes an investment in the latest technological advances in equipment to treat their patients. The dentist should have state-of-the-art equipment such as digital X-rays and intra-oral cameras. Other equipment to look for when you make a list to the dentist’s office include mouth mirrors, saliva ejectors, drills, probes, and scalers.
Equipment that appears to be at least 10 years old is a red flag that you may want to seek care elsewhere. Commonly used equipment such as dental chairs should be in good condition with no obvious signs of wear and tear. If the dentist doesn’t have high tech equipment such as X-rays directly in their office, they should offer that service nearby in the same building. Many reputable dentists also have laboratory services in the same building as their office to help their patients save time and money.
When looking for a trustworthy dentist for you or your loved one, trust your gut. Make sure you are comfortable with their approach to dental diagnosis and treatment. Do your research carefully and make a consultation appointment with several dentists before you make a decision. Having the right dentist is critical for your loved one’s health and wellbeing. By following these tips, you can have peace of mind knowing you have made the best-informed decision possible for their care.