It’s no secret that good oral health prevents cavities and increases self-esteem. But are you aware bad oral health can lead to serious diseases and health conditions?
Cavities are the most common chronic condition in the US, according to the CDC. Cavities, also known as tooth decay, can cause a buildup of bacteria in your mouth. Which leads to infections, among other severe conditions.
Gum disease can prompt teeth to fall out, provoke respiratory diseases, and bring on lung infections. It’s even been linked to diabetes.
Choosing a general dentist isn’t a task you should take lightly. These are the qualities to look for in an excellent, quality dentist.
1. Credentials, Training, and Qualifications
Would you allow a stranger off the street to perform a major surgery on your body? Exactly. So why would you make such a dangerous gamble when it comes to your mouth?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their qualifications, training, and credentials. You have every right to feel comfortable and safe with the choice you’ve made.
Questions for a General Dentist:
- Do you specialize in kids dental care?
- How much experience do you have?
- Do you specialize in anything?
- Is your practice up-to-date with modern technologies?
- Do you belong to any special dental organizations?
- Any special training or credentials?
- Do you have any special awards?
The minimal amount of education that’s required to become a dentist is not always enough. There are plenty of dentists who have special expertise and better qualifications.
A top-notch dentist will be happy to address your questions and concerns. So if you happen upon one who’s annoyed by your questions, or won’t answer them, you’ve got your answer right there.
2. Ask for Recommendations & Search for Reviews
If you’ve moved to a new city or your dentist has retired, you need to ensure you find a reputable general dentist. One that fits the needs of your entire family. What better way than asking people who’ve dealt with that dentist before?
Word-of-mouth is an excellent way to find a dentist, so that should be your first step. If you’ve moved to a new area where you don’t know anyone, reach out to locals using tools like Facebook groups.
Check online for any recommendations for dentists you’re considering. If countless negative reviews are popping up, you should ask yourself why, and steer clear.
Where to Look for Reviews:
- Facebook Business Pages of Dentists
- Rating on BBB (Better Business Bureau)
- The state’s Review Board
- Search Google for review sites
3. Dental Services And Treatments Offered
General dentists are equipped to deal with cavities, fillings, and other general procedures. But do they go above and beyond? Do they offer specialty treatments that you’d normally have to go elsewhere for?
While checking out potential dentists, inquire about specialty procedures. Especially if you think you or your family may need any of them down the road.
The best general dentist will have expertise in other areas, on top of the basics.
Speciality Treatments to Inquire About:
- Dental Implants
- Digital Radiography
- Pediatric Dentistry
- Oral Surgery
- Bleaching and Teeth Whitening
- Cosmetic Dentistry
These aren’t your typical treatments you’d see at every family-oriented dentist office. Finding a reputable dentist that comes with specialty treatments such as these, is a major bonus.
Ask to see before and after photos if you’re looking for a general dentist who provides cosmetic dentistry. If they don’t have any, this could be a warning sign of substandard work.
4. Do They Suit Your Individual Needs?
There are many factors that make up a first-rate dentistry practice. When it comes to someone you will likely be seeing for years to come, it’s imperative to vet them properly.
This is one of the essential factors in locating the right general dentist for you. You need to find one who fits your needs like a glove.
Factors That May Affect Your Choice:
- Are they family-oriented?
- Do the hours suit your life?
- Are they communicative?
- What services and treatments are offered?
- Do they have your best interest at heart?
When it comes to general dentistry, they vary tremendously depending on the individual practice.
Some offer the bare-bones essentials, while others surpass your expectations. The latter will have diverse services offered.
Finding a dentist that fits you and your life is a paramount factor, and shouldn’t be neglected.
5. A Peaceful, Clean Atmosphere
If you walk into a prospective dentist office and it looks like a condemned house, it’s time to hit the road. And fast.
Although this may seem obvious, many patients don’t investigate the dentist office beforehand. At least not to the extent they do with the dentist.
Always ask for a tour before making your first appointment. This may seem over-the-top, but I can assure you it’s not. You want to ensure the atmosphere fits the reviews and the information you’ve been given.
Things to Look For When Vetting a Dentist Office:
- Is the office clean?
- Does the office appear peaceful?
- Are the staff pleasant and cooperative?
- Is the furniture comfortable?
- Can you see yourself here?
- Is the office empty of patients?
Other things to consider are how the staff interacts with each other. And how well the receptionist is doing their job.
It may seem over the top, but the receptionist basically runs the office. Making him or her the core of the office, other than the dentist. A good receptionist will make an office operate smoothly. And they’ll greet every patient like a member of the family.
When Considering the Receptionist, Are They:
- Making eye-contact?
The bottom line: can you see yourself in this dentist office time after time? Or do you have reservations about some aspect?
Final Thoughts on What to Look For in a General Dentist
Finding a reputable dentist that suits your needs perfectly is no easy feat. Chances are, you plan on keeping your dentist for years to come, so spend your time finding the right one.
It’s crucial to find one that’s qualified, suits your needs, and is up to date with modern technologies.
Once you have a dentist you know you can trust and count on, your mind will be at ease.
If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art dentist practice you can trust, you’re in the right place. You can book an appointment, or contact us anytime with any questions you may have.