12 questions to ask your dentist to verify his worthiness of you as a patient

12 questions to ask your dentist to verify his worthiness of you as a patient

How long have you been in practice?
Experience comes not just with schooling, but years of practice and continuing education.

How have you continued your education?
It is important to know what classes he/she has attended. What institute he/she has ties with and what techniques have been used and implemented within the office?

Does he/she keep up with the latest techniques?
There are many different techniques used within the dental field. Not every doctor uses every technique they have learned. What works for some, may not work for others (diff. strokes for diff. folks) So, he/she can not be expected to change what works for them every time they learn something new. However, if they have learned a technique that is beneficial to the patients well being, and they choose to take a short cut by not implementing this into their practice, a red flag should go up.

What study groups does he/she belong to?
Some doctors belong to a group that will do many things to further their education such as seminars with keynote speakers.

What services are performed within the practice?
Its important to know what services are performed, because if he/she says “Everything under the sun”, another red flag should go up. Its not possible to specialize in everything. I appreciated my dentist when he sent me to an oral surgeon for the extraction of my 3rd molars (wisdom teeth). One of the four would have been difficult. Far different from my childhood dentist that pulled 4 teeth before having braces. One tooth gave him trouble. I won’t go into details, I’ll just say I ran out of there sick!

What hours are they open and what arrangements can be made for emergency dental care?
You want appointment time to be convenient to your schedule. And, you never know when you might have an emergency.

Does the dentist explain techniques that will help you prevent dental health problems and dental emergencies?
I call this preventive maintenance. The doctor and hygienist should explain good oral hygiene and warn you of problems arising.

Does the doctor have a valid license?
No need to explain this one! If in doubt, check with the Department of Education in your state that licenses dentists.

Is the office clean, neat and orderly?
Are infection control procedures in place?
The dentist should use “universal precautions” such as gloves, mask and appropriate protective garb and routinely sterilize and disinfect instruments and the work area to protect against spreading infectious diseases.

Was your medical and dental history recorded?
This is vital to your well being.

Does the dentist explain treatment options and fees?
I want to know everything I am expected to pay before the treatment is performed.

If he/she seems uncomfortable answering your questions, he/she may not be the dentist for you. You have every right to choose you dentist. You need to feel comfortable with your dentist and hygienist. You are not just a patient. You are a client! Most dentist appreciate knowing your concerns. When my hygienist was unavailable and a temporary took her place, I was not pleased with her service. I kindly informed my dentist and she was glad I did. You may want to call or visit more than one dentist before choosing a dentist.

Miriam Olsen has been a dental technician for 19 years with the last 10 years running her own lab out of the house. Last year she created her own web site concentrating on dental information and has expanded to offer products and information on enhancing your beauty and life. For more information go to www.dynamicsmile.com

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