Finding a good dentist is paramount to ensuring the health and longevity of your teeth and gums. Unfortunately, not all dentists are the same, and though there are intensive training requirements and strict regulations governing patient care, some bad dentists still exist. So how do you distinguish a good dentist from a bad dentist? Ultimately, if you have a good rapport with your dentist, you feel s/he respects you, and you trust her/him, then you have probably found yourself a good dentist. Nevertheless, these signs of a bad dentist are all clear indications that you should consider finding someone new.
We all learn never to judge a book by its cover, but if you enter a dentist’s office that is disorganized and cluttered you should treat this as a warning sign. First and foremost, medical environments should be sterile and hygienic and a messy office may be your first indication that things are not properly cleaned. Moreover, disorganization may be the sign of poor business and management skills. Your dentist’s waiting room should be tidy and well-organized, swept, dusted, and free of debris. Exam rooms should appear sterile in addition to organized. Staff members and dentists should wear gloves at all times when working with clients.
Before you choose a dentist, it is in your best interest to understand their billing procedures. Unnecessarily complicated billing policies are another sign of a questionable dentist. Will you be charged for cancelled appointments even with advanced notice? Does your dentist offer payment plans? Will the dental office bill directly to your insurance provider? Ultimately, you want to find a dentist that can work with you so that you can get the appropriate dental care, and their billing policies should be clear and straightforward.
Does your dentist take personal calls during your office visit? Does s/he delegate advanced tasks to office staff that may not be qualified for the procedure? Does the dentist suggest exorbitantly expensive treatments for seemingly minor problems? There are many signs that your dentist may be acting unprofessionally, and in the end you sometimes have to trust your judgement. For example, imagine a situation where you switch dentists and your new dentist tells you have several major dental problems to which your previous dentist never alerted you. Perhaps your first dentist was unprofessional, but you should feel comfortable asking for a second opinion when things don’t add up. Moreover, during your dental visits, you should expect your dentist to be focused on you, his client. This means that s/he does not allow their attention to be disrupted by non-work related matters. If you find yourself questioning your dentist’s professionalism, you should seek someone new.
When it comes to finding a dentist, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable in her/his office. You should trust your dentist and the advise s/he gives, and you should never be made to feel a burden for asking questions about treatment alternatives.