How to find the right dentist for you

How to find the right dentist for you

Submitted by Edilia Glenski, DMD, FAGD, owner of Definitive Dental Care

When looking for a dentist, it’s important you do your research. Here are 10 tips to help you find the right dentist for you:

1. How long has the dentist been in practice?
The longer the better. Most dentists agree that they did not feel experienced enough to go into private practice immediately after graduation from dental school. A dentist who has been in practice for at least 10 years and has had military, post graduate or internship training is a good bet.

2. How often does the dentist attend continuing training?
Most states require 30 to 40 hours every two years. Dentists who exceed this amount by at least double tend to be more up-to-date with recent developments in the field.

3. Is there more than one dentist in the office?
If it’s important to you that you are seen by the same dentist at each visit, you will want to know what the office policy is regarding this if there are multiple dentists in that practice.

4. Is the practice owned by the dentist who is in the practice?
If it's a corporate-owned practice, chances are that the dentists come and go and do not stay there long. This kind of practice setting usually attracts dentists that recently graduated from school and are there to get experience before committing to a practice of their own.

5. Does the dentist have any affiliation to a teaching institution or does the dentist lecture to other dentists on techniques and materials?
A private practice dentist who takes the time to teach is usually more knowledgeable and concerned about others.

6. Does the dentist have additional credentials?
Look for affiliation with the Academy of General Dentistry or the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, to name a few.

7. Does the dentist write and publish articles for the public as well as for other dentists?

8. The best source of information always has been and always will be word of mouth.
Many websites now offer reviews from patients that may be helpful in making a selection.

9. What type of practitioner do you prefer – a multi-tasker, a technician or an artist?
Multi-taskers have very busy practices with numerous patients scheduled about the same time and the dentist goes from one treatment room to another. Technicians are focused on technique. An artist will not multi-task, has mastered technique and focuses on each patient individually. Artists usually have the most credentials, take the most post-graduate training and receive the highest compensation.

10. Do you feel comfortable in the office?
Are you treated respectfully and with care by the dentist and staff at your initial examination/consultation appointment? Were all of your questions answered to your satisfaction? Does the dentist seem interested in your well-being?

Glenski is owner of Definitive Dental Care in Palm Harbor, Fla. She has been practicing general and cosmetic dentistry since 1980 and is one of only eight dentists in the state of Florida accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Glenski is also a professor of anatomy and physiology at St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Fla.

As of Sept. 16, 2011, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.

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