A dentists first, and primary goal, is to provide excellent care to patients in order for them to live a healthy and full life. Dentists help patients by relieving tooth sensitivity or pain to biting, fixing worn or cracked teeth, providing cosmetic services like veneers and tooth colored fillings, prevent gum bleeding, and serve as a great resource for health information. Importantly, dentists are focused on prevention. Often it is not until patients have severe disease that they realize the importance of going to the dentist regularly.
So, how should a person choose a dentist? Most patients need a dentist focused on prevention. Teeth are much less expensive to examine and clean, than to pull and replace. A patient needs a dentist that is sensitive to your unique needs. However, selection of a dentist is not made on this personal level, but instead one of the most common decision making models in choosing a dentist is by determining if they accept your insurance. This is a flawed model for multiple reasons.
The first criteria when choosing a dentist, is the dentist’s personal attributes. Is the he/she friendly? Do they know you as a person? The time a dentist takes to understand your overall health will pay dividends for you in the future. Conversations about diet and eating habits will lower your risk for tooth and gum diseases, as well as lower your risk for heart diseases. In addition, dentists have a unique understanding of the harmful effects of alcohol and tobacco and are a great resource in fighting these addictions. Additionally, when times are tough, a strong relationship with your dentist will help you prioritize your needed treatment. It should be clear that one of the most important criteria to choose a dentist is their listening abilities.
Another important criteria is the quality of care, which is measured in multiple ways. Commonly, a patient will select a dentist who provides care in a pain free way. Additionally, most patients want procedures to end quickly. While these are two very important ways to judge a dentist, one way to evaluate dentistry is in how long the work lasts. The dentist who takes the time to explain the strengths and weaknesses of a treatment provided, who takes the time to do all the extra little steps to get the most life out of dental work like a filling, the one who has quality control measures built into procedures, and the doctor that uses the best materials available will provide the best care to you, the patient. While this is difficult for the lay person to judge, asking questions to the provider about these factors will reveal how important quality is to the dental office.
Technology utilized by an office is also a great way to judge an office. While having every tool available is not needed to provide excellent dentistry, using the newest equipment can help many difficult situations and add value to the care provided. Utilizing digital xrays and using advanced diagnostic techniques can prevent many diseases. Having a high powered curing light saves time on procedures and provides a deeper or stronger cure. Additionally, a dentist having comfortable chairs, a nice waiting room with a selection of reading materials is an added convenience to the patient. An office using the best products alleviates any fear of half rate materials. The materials and technologies utilized by a dentist are an important area of distinction among dentists.
Convenience is definitely a primary reason oral health care providers are chosen. Selecting a place that is convenient to work, school or home is wise. Sometimes toothaches arise spontaneously and having convenient access to your doctor is smart. Along with physical proximity to your dental office, it is important for your dentist to be able to see you in emergency situations. Handling trauma is an important aspect of emergency care a dentist provides. It is impossible to predict when an accident could occur.
Finally, the office staff taking time to explain the care you receive and handling any financial issues will make you more comfortable with your visit. Having a great front office staff sets practices apart from the others.
There are so many variables in selecting a dentist that often times patients rely on referrals and recommendations. Using the model of ,’do they accept my insurance,’ as the sole criteria for selecting an office is weak. It has been proven in many industries that you get what you pay for. A dentist that is discounting their work for an insurance company is making compromises in other areas of care. Teeth are meant to last a lifetime and developing a relationship with your dentist is very important to having a beautiful and healthy smile.
For more information on our Mobile, Alabama office, visit our website at www.mobilealabamadentist.com
Alex Krempa, D.M.D.
6350 Airport Blvd.
Mobile, Alabama 36608