Here’s a reprise of one of my blog entries from the past; how you should choose a dentist… and why we do what we do:
- Do they make a medical assessment? One of the first things we do with our patients, before assessing their dental problems, is take a full medical history. We need to know what’s going on with the patient in terms of his or her entire body. Certain medications or conditions may affect the way your teeth react to treatment, so it’s essential for your dentist to know what’s going on with your body. For example, bacteria from the mouth can affect the heart of someone who suffers from heart disease; pregnancy may cause gum disease; and bleeding gums and arthritis can make it difficult for patients to maintain a clean mouth. It’s also essential for you to keep up with your own medical care – for example, people with untreated diabetes may have delayed healing of the gums, which can make performing dental implants difficult. If we don’t know what the underlying problems are, we will just be spinning our wheels and performing unsuccessful treatments. If your dentist does not spent necessary amount of time to diligently find out all the details about your health, you may want to ask yourself if he or she is diligent enough to address your dental care needs.
- Options are so important when a dentist presents a treatment plan. Your dentist needs to be well-versed enough to give you options how how to fix your dental problems. He needs to figure out what fits the patient best. Most dental problems have several treatment options, you and your doctor should be discussing each one before you decide on a course of treatment. Whether it’s a small cavity, a large cavity or an infection, your dentist should be telling you what the options are; what the advantages and disadvantages are of each; and then together you should be able to make your way through all those options to figure out what is best for you. If no such discussion takes place – it’s surely a “red flag”!
- About a referral. If you go to your dentist with tooth pain and she simply sends you to see somebody else that surely may present a big hassle. Running from one dentist to another just because your dentist is not well versed and/or skilled in various facets of dentistry may be quite burdensome in terms of time (and money!) spent seeing multiple doctors. In our office we perform all stages/facets of dentistry thus making it more affordable for our patients.
- Second opinions. Many patients are reluctant to tell their dentist that they’re getting a second opinion. But if it’s a doctor who’s new to the patient, and you’re told that you need to have procedures done, you absolutely should get an exam from another dentist. That applies to anything you’re uncertain about. If you leave your dentist’s office and your dentist is recommending a procedure you do not fully comprehend or you’re unsure about, or if you’ve gotten a diagnosis that you don’t understand, you should get a second opinion. You shouldn’t have treatment that you don’t understand the need for.