I have had the unfortunate experience of both having my own bad encounters as well as hearing from others who have had bad experiences. Some are very distraught after dealing with a dentist who did not truly help them and even caused more problems and expenses.[Disclaimer: I am not a dental professional nor do I have any training in dental care whatsoever]
Just recently, I spoke to a woman who had three crowns placed. All three needed to be redone within one year.
It is Important to Note: Not all dentist are bad. THERE ARE good dentists out there. The trick is knowing how to tell the difference between a good and bad dentist and then actually finding a good one.
There are ‘bad apples’ in all professions and at all levels of society. You can find a good dentist and you should make every attempt to do so.
This is not an exact science, obviously. In the end, you are going to have to make a judgement call.
A few things that might help you decide are:
1. Is the dentist willing to take the time to answer ALL of your questions patiently or is he / she in a hurry to move on to the next patient?
2. Is the dentist willing to explain exactly why their treatment plan is the very best for you as compared to any other treatment plan or method?
3. Does the dentist have an, ‘I know better than you’ attitude? (Arrogance is often used to cover incompetence).
4. Do you feel that the dentist actually ‘cares’ or do you get the feeling he / she is just out to make money?
5. Does the dentist offer helpful advice about what you can do to prevent dental health problems? Are they just focused on treating your specific problems, or do they actually tell you how to prevent problems from occurring?
6. Do you feel comfortable with the treatment plan that the dentist is suggesting?
If you feel that what the dentist / office is recommending is very expensive and you are having questions about whether this is the very best thing for you or not – it is ALWAYS an option to go to another dentist and get another opinion.
In fact, it may be in your best interest to go to several dentists and get a number of opinions.
You may find that each dentist has a different idea about what you need done to your mouth. The opinions can vary between dentists quite drastically. It can be worth it to check with many dentists.
I feel that it is important to go with your instinct in this arena. Choose the dentist that you feel good about or feel comfortable with. Are you comfortable with what the dentist is recommending? Do you feel that ALL of your questions have been answered? If not, it might be worth it to keep looking.
Finding a good dentist is important. This is true not only for yourself, but your family as well.
There are some offices where the ‘office manager’ gives you the treatment plan and not the dentist himself. You may have your own opinion about this.
In my personal opinion, this is a red flag to me. If the dentist is passing this very important task over to someone else, it raises a question in my mind.
I personally want a caring dentist who is more interested in doing a good job helping me rather than a dentist who is overly focused on running his / her business.
One final thought. It has been said that it takes 10 years to master something. In my way of thinking that doesn’t just mean that the dentist should have been in practice for ten years. To me, it means that if you are going to get a root canal, that dentist should have ten yours of specific experience in performing root canals. The same goes for any other type of dental work.
I am keenly aware that this is unfair to new dentists getting started. But bad dental work can be very expensive, leading to the need to have work redone in a short period of time. Worse case scenario, bad dental work can lead to lost teeth, gum tissue, or other serious consequences. This can be both painful and expensive. This is your mouth we are talking about. Choose your dentist well.
There are good dentists out there, you just need to find one.
It is important to note that I am NOT a dental professional nor do I have any professional training in this area.
Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below.
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