What to Look for In a Dental Office
Are you looking for a new dental office in Roswell, GA? There are heaps of great dental offices out there today, so how can you be sure you’ve found a good fit?
Overall quality of care may be better than it’s ever been in the dental industry, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to love being a patient with just any dentist you meet. You have to spend a little time learning about a dental practice to find out what makes it special and different from your other options.
Just as you would want to make sure a new gym or therapist is a good fit for your needs, you should also take the time to meet and interview potential dentists. Below are our favorite talking points when meeting with new patients. These issues may help you think about what matters the most to you as a patient, so you can choose a new dental office with confidence.
We prefer to think that dentists treat patients, not teeth. Oral care is our specialty, but our goal is not to “fix teeth” as much as to help you have the best oral health possible. A patient-focused dental clinic is one in which care providers take time to get to know their patients and establish a trusting relationship. Every patient should feel comfortable being honest and open with their dentist and clinic staff. Open lines of communication improve the quality of your experience, as well as the quality of your care.
A patient-centered practice will cater to your whole experience: everything from setting appointments and dealing with insurance to actual clinical care. If a clinic has a dedicated patient care specialist, this is usually a good sign that they care about more than just fixing teeth and getting paid.
Training and Experience
Only rarely will you find a fraudulent dentist operating nowadays, due to the rigors of licensure requirements. All the same, it’s good to make sure that any potential dentist is licensed and qualified. Beyond the legal requirements for opening a dental clinic, find out how many years your dentist has been operating and what their education and background training consist of.
A good dentist should be happy to talk about his or her training and will discuss this subject in terms you can easily understand. If a dentist is hesitant to discuss his or her qualifications—or doesn’t take the time to explain—this can be a red flag that he or she will not take time to explain dental issues with you in the future.
Don’t judge a dentist negatively if he or she is new to the profession. New dentists often have the benefit of more advanced and rigorous training programs that use the most up-to-date information and innovations. Likewise, don’t assume that an “old” dentist is ignorant of modern techniques. Dedicated professionals voluntarily take part in continuing education to make sure they stay on the pulse of modern techniques. If a dentist completed his or her training several years ago, ask what he or she does to stay current on innovations in the field.
Technology and Innovation
If a dentist is still using the same tools and techniques he used 20 years ago, we recommend you keep looking! Advances in dental technology and materials have progressed rapidly in recent years, and modern tools make patients’ experiences more comfortable, predictable, and safe.
For example, digital radiography, intraoral cameras, and computer-based imaging allow us to see and diagnose dental issues faster and with greater accuracy than in the past. Laser dentistry tools make fillings and oral surgery faster and less traumatic by eliminating the need for a drill or scalpel. Find out what advanced technology your dental clinic uses and let the doctor explain how it will enhance your dental and oral care.
Transparency and Communication
A good dentist will always let patients make their own health decisions. When we find problems, we take the time to explain (and show you) what we’ve found, what it means, and what treatment we recommend.
This includes providing a written treatment plan, so you can see exactly what the issues are. We will never initiate treatment before you’ve had the chance to consider your options, and we always recommend the most conservative treatments possible. This policy applies to both restorative and cosmetic treatments, and we never push preferred or expensive treatments.
The Intangibles of a Good Match
Just as with a first date, you want to leave a first dental visit feeling like you’ve found a good match. If you feel uncomfortable about the way anything went, don’t disregard those feelings.
There is more and more scientific research out there that “trusting your gut” is a smart thing to do. If your gut reaction (intuitive feeling) about a clinic leaves you uncertain, keep looking! For example, if any of the staff members are rude or disorganized, this could be a sign of a poorly run or dysfunctional office.
Think about all your contact with staff, not just the doctor. In truth, patients spend more time with hygiene staff during a typical visit than with the dentist. Ideally, you should feel good about your interactions with every staff member.
Looking for Dental Office in Roswell, GA?
If you’re looking for a dental clinic in our neck of the woods, call our office for a visit with Dr. Judd Shenk. Our dental practice provides comfortable, patient-centered care in Roswell, GA. We know it takes time to find a good match and are happy to take the time to sit down for a chat with new patients.