Are you looking for a Travelers Rest SC general dentist?
Whether you’re having a dental problem or simply looking for a new provider, all patients should be comfortable with their dentist on a professional and personal level. A good patient/provider relation is founded on mutual trust and openness. You want to find someone who inspires professional confidence, but is also easy to talk to. A great dentist will also be enthusiastic about promoting good oral hygiene and radiate a positive attitude.
When you interview a dentist, these questions may help you get a sense of his or her qualifications, principles, and chair-side manner. Beware any provider who does not welcome questions from prospective patients; there are plenty of other fish in the sea.
1. What are your specialty areas?
This question will help you learn about a dentist’s professional qualifications and interests. If he or she doesn’t mention prior education, training, certifications, and state license—ask, as all these details will help you understand his or her qualifications. Also ask if he or she belongs to any professional organizations and how he/she stays current on advances in the dental field. The answers you get will reveal not only whether he or she is a legitimate, licensed professional, but the underlying attitudes and philosophies that drive patient interactions.
2. How do you maintain patient satisfaction?
It’s never to a dentist’s advantage to have unhappy or dissatisfied customers. A good dentist will have a system in place to make sure all patients walk away from their treatments happy: perhaps a survey sent by email or follow-up phone call for more involved treatments. In today’s connected world, a good dentist will go the extra mile to keep patients satisfied, since negative reviews online can harm their business.
3. Do you offer consultations without charge?
Routine preventive and restorative care aside, a good dentist should always be willing to schedule free consultations for more involved treatments (such dental implants) and cosmetic dentistry. Many general practices offer advanced restorations and cosmetic options today, so as to be able to treat their patients’ every potential need. Cosmetic treatments, especially, should come with free initial consultations so patients can learn about their options and details regarding specific treatments. If you are looking for a dentist for cosmetic work, expect a potential dentist to give not only a recommendation for treatment, but a full account of what the treatment entails, a timeline, potential risks, how long results will last, and precise financial expenses.
4. Do you offer extended payment plans?
Many Americans go without medical insurance, and even the well insured often lack quality dental plans. A compassionate dentist who is truly devoted to promoting good oral health will have a system in place to assist those without the means to pay for treatments up front. Even if you have insurance, find out what the office will do to help you if you should one day require a service not covered by your plan.
5. What is your approach to diagnosing oral health problems?
Even the most experienced dentists should keep an open mind when you come to them with a mysterious problem. Diagnosing problems with routine care and fillings may be straightforward, but it’s always good to have a dentist you know will take a methodical, scientific approach to your problem. Be it an unusual toothache, TMJ pain, a gum infection, or something worse—you want a dentist who makes full use of the diagnostic tools and body of medical research available in the industry. Any dentist who treats all problems with one-size-fits-all solutions is not sensitive to the complexity of the human mouth!
6. If I have a problem, will I see a treatment plan?
An oral health professional should never keep your diagnosis or treatment plan a secret from you. An attitude of “let us handle the details” may be a red flag indicating a dentist who will not keep you informed or educated about the facts of your condition or treatment options.
When a problem is detected (gum disease, infection, impacted teeth, etc.) your dentist should provide you with a written diagnosis and itemized treatment plan. A good dentist recognizes that sharing these details is vital to the patient/provider relationship. Beware any dentist who treats problems without a methodical, documented, plan.
7. What enhanced technology do you use?
True professionals know that scientific innovations can enhance their ability to diagnose and treat dental problems. A good dentist will stay abreast of the technological innovations in their field and apply them to their practice. You don’t need a checklist of specific technology every dentist should have, but expect your potential dentist to tell you about an innovation they have adopted and the positive effects it has engendered. A dentist who isn’t excited about digital x-rays and laser dentistry, for example, is missing out on critical advances in patient care.
Bonus Question: What is the connection between dental health and whole body wellness?
With an established body of medical studies documenting the link between oral health and medical health, you want a provider who doesn’t keep his head in the sand. A thorough dentist will mention the many common medical conditions that can affect your teeth (acid reflux, diabetes, pregnancy, etc.) as well as the serious medical illnesses that are linked to the bacteria found in gum disease.
Trust Your Gut!
Overall, the questions you ask are not as important the fact that you do ask. Engaging a potential provider in conversation is the best way to get a sense of whether you’ll be able to develop a trusting and comfortable bond with this person. If something rubs you the wrong way, keep looking!