With so many dentists to choose from, how do you know you've chosen the right one? For starters, the best dentist is more focused on what to do rather than what not to do when working with a patient. If you're wondering whether or not yours is top of the line, consider these 10 things all good dentists do for their clients.
1. Actively Listens
A good dentist wants to help patients, but the best dentists hone their listening skills just as much as they hone their physical technique. A great doctor takes the time to listen to patients' concerns, and never rushes to levy a treatment with which someone may secretly feel uncomfortable.
2. Educates the Patient
Because you didn't go to dental school, you naturally rely on your dentist to educate you on oral health, medical issues, good habits and treatment options you aren't aware of. The dentist who is perfect for you is happy to take the time to explain your options and work with you to enhance your confidence – and your smile.
3. Respects Patient Time and Resources
Constantly left in the waiting room or paying for pricey treatments you can't afford? These are both red flags your dental practice doesn't respect the time or budget of their clientele. Good dentists are as punctual as you are, and take your bottom line into consideration when suggesting treatment. This includes swapping out costly, often subjective in-office whitening procedures for items like Colgate® Optic White™ Professional Take-Home Kit.
4. Keeps a Clean Office
The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests checking to ensure your dentist's office is "clean, neat and orderly." If you notice things like old gloves and dirty instruments not stowed away, your dentist could be contaminating the examination room, which spreads germs and can make you and your family sick.
5. Doesn't Upsell
You want a dentist – not a salesperson. Good dentists won't try to upsell you on products and treatments you don't absolutely need and that you didn't ask for prior to an examination.
6. Gets to Know You
Feeling like just another file on the shelf doesn't just give you an impersonal experience; it can actually affect the level and quality of care you receive. When your dentist takes the time to get to know you, he or she can provide better care options that work according to your medical history.
7. Wants a Long-Term Relationship
The best dentist is invested in making you a long-term patient, which means following up when it's time for an appointment, scheduling regular screenings or X-rays and making you and your family feel recognized when you're in the office. If your dentist treats your appointment like a one-time job, it might be time to look for someone else.
8. Cares about Staff
Not only do the best doctors care about patients, but they are kind and attentive to staff as well. It's worth observing the way your dentist interacts with coworkers, because it gives you an idea of his or her management style and the mood among the staff working with you.
9. Follows Up
Some dental procedures can be long and arduous, leaving you feeling out of sorts for a few hours afterward. A great dentist will follow up with you after a particularly long or difficult procedure, just to make sure you're feeling OK and that there are no complications hindering your recovery.
10. Values You as a Patient
You don't want to feel like just another item on your dentist's to-do list. The best dentists have a way of letting their patients know they care about them personally. They're interested in their patients' lives, concerns and families, and are eager to become a part of their general care team.
Choosing a dentist isn't a decision you take lightly. He or she should see you as a patient for life, not just once or twice. Teaming up with the best medical professionals means working with people who understand your concerns and know your history as a patient. The best dentist always gives you the care that you and your family deserve.