Whether you have moved to a new area, your current dentist is going into retirement, or you just want a new dentist, it can be a little daunting trying to find a good dentist. How can you tell whether someone is a good dentist or a bad dentist, especially if you do not know much about your teeth and dentistry? It’s not like picking out a particular color to paint your room – this is a medical decision that will affect the way that your teeth, gums, and jaw are going to be looked after for a good many years into the future!
Thankfully, there are some simple things that you can look for when it comes to knowing a good dentist from a bad one. An excellent dentist may not have all of these traits, but they will certainly have most of them, and so you can then start to whittle down the ones you like based on this checklist.
- Do they know what they are talking about? : There will always be those people who try to talk about things that they do not really know as if they are experts, and although it can be a little more tricky to decipher when you yourself are not a dentist, you can certainly get a vibe about whether or not they are confident about your consultation, diagnosis, and suggested treatment plan.
- Are they good with children? : Even if you do not have children, this is an excellent barometer for seeing just what a person is like, and if you do have children then this will be one of the most important things to consider. Watch them with children, and see whether or not they are patient, kind, and understanding. If they are like that with children then it is much more likely that they will be like that with you.
- Do the general staff treat you well? : Most people in an office environment will treat guests just as they are treated by management. Not many people know that, but as soon as you do then it starts to change the way that you look at people when you go into a new business or building. If the receptionist and the dental nurses are polite, caring, and courteous, then the chances are that the dentist will be as well.
- Are they holistic in their approach? : Not many people know what holistic dentistry is, so we spoke to Dr Paige Woods, an eminent biological dentist based in San Diego, so she could explain. She said that holistic dentists are different from traditional dentists in many ways, but the key is that holistic dentists treat patients as a whole, believing that problems in one area of the body will quickly manifest themselves in symptoms elsewhere. This is why a holistic dentist will not only look at your teeth and gums, but also ask you questions about your diet, exercise, and stress levels.
- Do you like them? : It sounds such a cliché, but sometimes it really does boil down to whether you like them or not. As humans we have excellent instincts, and sometimes we ignore them because we do not trust ourselves – but when it comes to people, sometimes you just have to ask yourself whether you like them or not. There’s not point committing to seeing a dentist twice a year, every year, if you don’t like them!
You could find that it takes two, three, or even four visits to different dentists in your local area before you find the one that you know is right for you and your family, but keep on persevering until you’re sure that you have found the one.
More about the San Diego practice of Dr. Woods at http://sandiegodentist.org