We all have been there - at least almost all of us. There comes the day, where we have to admit to ourselves, that a visit to the dentist or dental clinic might be either a very good idea or even inevitable. But who is the best in my area? What is the best dental clinic? How can I tell, if there are so many?
Dental care is a matter of trust. Almost no medical discipline invokes more (substantiated or unsubstantiated) fear in the minds of millions of people. As a consequence, dental care providers are chosen very carefully, by conducting online research and asking for recommendations by friends, family members and acquaintances.
In the following, I will try to point out important indicators, that may help you spot out the best dentists and dental clinics in your proximity. The qualities of a good dentist can be separated into social skills and manual skills.
The manual skills of a dentist are impossible to judge beforehand. Social skills however are still underestimated and rather easy to judge before starting a treatment or procedure.
It may sound basic and almost banal, but only a good listener can find a solution for a problem (whatever the nature of the problem). And this rule applies to dentistry too. As dentists, we start every first appointment with what I’d call “data-collection”. Our best source for collecting valuable data is the patient.
Only the patient can tell us about the history of a dental problem, pain and the main concern. A dentist, therefore, has to listen rather carefully and ask the right questions to start the diagnostic process. A sound diagnosis determines the decision making. Without it, even the most skilful dentist is doomed to fail.
The dentist is usually not operating in a vacuum and depends on a good team to really meet your dental needs. Ideally, you can expect soft-handed, good-mannered nurses, an organized and friendly receptionist and an effective accountant to take care of insurance-related issues, medical report coordination and billing.
Sure - you can inquire about which equipment, material and techniques are being used in a specific clinic or by a specific dentist. This though is not a very reliable parameter since the patient can’t possibly evaluate all possible details in a foreign field of expertise.
I would rather encourage patients to get an idea about the dentists’ educational background in general and continuous education efforts in particular. Continuous education is what keeps us dentists up-to-date. It also indicates both commitment and passion for our jobs - which brings me to the final and perhaps most important point.
This one is very simple - You will want to be treated by someone who doesn’t settle for average. Dentistry can sometimes be as frustrating to the doctor as it is for some patients. Frustration usually leads to bad and average results through settling with compromises. Passionate dentists are more likely to pull through to get the best possible results, even when faced with more difficult problems.
They usually acquired a high level of educational expertise to help them solve dental problems - for the simple reason that solving problems is their passion.
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On the cover and written by Dr. Dominique Laatz MSc. MSc. (German Dental & Dermatology Center)
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