What Makes a Good Dentist?

You might believe that all dentists are cut from the same cloth—until you have a bad experience. At that point, you realize that your dentist is not up to par, and it’s time to find someone who will take better care of you. Understanding the characteristics of a good dentist is an important place to start.

Before settling on your family dentist, always research your location thoroughly for top-rated dentists. It’s as simple as executing a Google search with keywords like “dentist Fort Myers” or “best dentist in Fort Myers, FL.” Then, read online reviews and get recommendations from friends and family.

During your research, check for the following traits:

Cost 

The cost factor should not be the first thing you look at, but it is a factor. First of all, make sure they take your insurance. Additionally, ask for going rates for fillings, fluoride treatments, and other procedures.

You might think that the prices for these services are the same across the board, but that’s not the case. Oftentimes, dentist offices, particularly corporate-style offices, will attempt to upsell you on extras that you don’t really need.

You don’t have to go with the lowest priced option because quality is important too. But go with a dentist that offers competitive rates.

Patient First Attitude 

A dentist that will put your needs above his/her own is a prize worth seeking. In climates where dentistry is highly competitive, many dentists will say you need a treatment at the slightest sign of a problem because they want your money.

For example, you may have discoloration in the grooves of your molars that’s generally harmless, but your dentist will claim it’s a cavity that needs repaired just to get the paycheck. This kind of attitude is not uncommon among dentists, and you should avoid it at all costs.

Look for a dentist that will listen to your concerns, won’t try to take advantage of you, and will do what’s in your best interest, not his/her own.

Comfort 

For many people, it’s hard to be comfortable in the dentist chair, so this quest might seem impossible. But comfortable dentist offices do exist.

This is about more than the cushiness of the waiting room seats. It’s about the whole experience. Many dentists are very aware of certain phobias and discomforts that their clients face, and they go above and beyond to make the visit a comfortable experience for them.

Even if you don’t have a phobia of the dentist, look for an office that will put your comfort as the highest priority. They’ll treat you kindly and show concern for your well-being throughout the waiting period, examination, and treatment.

Attention to Detail 

You want someone who can spot little things and correct them before they become big problems. They should also be very detailed in their treatment and recommendations for you.

An ideal dentist will tell you where you’re not brushing enough, how you can re-harden enamel when it starts to break down, and how to stop a cavity from forming. Dentists should also look for signs of a deeper issue, such as signs of mouth cancer. Many dentists have saved patients’ lives because of their detailed mouth examinations.

Humility 

A good dentist knows that he/she is not the best in the business, and they will admit when they don’t know how to do something. Most dentists will be able to fill all of your dental needs, but there may be special cases in which you need a specialist to treat a specific problem.

See a dentist that admits when he’s unfamiliar with a case and will give you a good recommendation of someone who can fix the problem.

Communication 

It’s all too common to find dentists that don’t communicate with their patients. They barely say a word to you when they examine your mouth, and if they do talk, it’s to share information with the dental hygienist in cryptic medical terms, not to tell you what’s going on.

Don’t put up with this! As the patient, you’re the first priority, and a dentist should be able to look in your mouth, communicate what they see, answer any questions, and listen to your concerns. They should be willing to spend more than 30 seconds in the room with you and communicate clearly if you need anything.

When you find the ideal dentist, you’re set up for a lifetime of great experiences. It may have been a lot of work to research, but you’ll be glad you put in the time and effort in the long run.

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