If you’re in the market for a new dentist, there are several factors you should take into consideration. Most people look for a dental office that’s conveniently located and highly recommended. Other people prefer to only consider practices that offer sedation dentistry. Some enjoy small, well-established practices; others look for new practices with cutting-edge technology. Regardless of your personal preferences, the number one factor you should take into consideration is whether or not you feel comfortable at a particular practice. Additionally, consider the following red flags that you should look for when shopping around for a new dental office:
The new office doesn’t ask for your old records.
Requesting your records from a former practice is standard when you visit a new dental office. After all, much of dental care involves tracking changes in your mouth over time. If a new practice doesn’t request your old records– including X-rays– to help establish a baseline for your care, it’s time to start asking questions.
Their hygiene isn’t top-notch.
The importance of top-notch hygiene in a dental office can’t be underestimated. What should you look out for? For starters, the hygienist and dentist should be wearing gloves during a check-up or procedure. If they touch anything– a keyboard, a door knob– their gloves should be changed. Secondly, dental tools must be sterile. Many practices have their tools in sealed bags where they are heat-sterilized before use. If you’re not sure if the tools have been properly sterilized, don’t be afraid to ask.
They’re using outdated technology.
Radiographs– or traditional dental X-rays– are a thing of the past in most dental practices today. Digital X-rays can detect problem areas that traditional X-rays miss altogether. An added bonus: digital X-rays expose patients to less radiation than old-fashioned film X-rays. If you visit a practice that hasn’t made the switch to digital X-rays, it’s important to consider that they might not be keeping abreast of the latest advances in dentistry.
They lack patient testimonials.
Displaying patient testimonials– on the practice website, on the walls, in brochures– is just good business sense. If you visit a practice that lacks any kind of patient testimonials, ask yourself why they’re absent. Or, better yet, ask the staff. For example, if you’re considering a cosmetic procedure, request to see before and after pictures of patients they’ve successfully treated. Any reputable practice should be able to provide this type of evidence.
They forego oral cancer screening.
A quick oral cancer screening should be a standard part of your regular dental check-up. Your dentist should check your tongue, gums, throat, and the insides of your cheeks for lesions and other abnormalities. He should also check the lymph nodes in your neck. Oral cancers are highly treatable when detected early, so there’s no reason this simple screening process should be neglected. If you visit a new practice that doesn’t screen for oral cancers, speak up and ask why.
They claim you need extensive treatment.
If you’ve been receiving regular dental care with very little problem and a new practice recommends extensive dental work at your first check-up, a major red flag should be raised. Sometimes, dentists do miss real problems; this is particularly true of dentists using outdated technology. But if a new practice tells you that you need countless fillings replaced, root canal treatment, and maybe an implant or two, it’s best to get a second opinion before moving forward with the treatment.
If you’re searching for a dental practice that puts your needs first, contact us today. We pride ourselves on making sure our patients receive top-notch care based on their unique needs. Allow us to help you achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of!