How to Find a Good Dentist
Finding a good dentist can be a challenge. You want to be sure the one you choose will be a good fit for you as a patient, but how do you know what to look for in the first place?
Many patients will naturally list cost as one of their top concerns, but dental providers who promote cheap dental care can lead to less-than-ideal outcomes. When it comes to your long-term oral health, you’re better off prioritizing providers who emphasize compassion, transparency, and results.
At DGY Dentistry Ann Arbor, for example, we work from the first phone call to uncover the patient’s concerns and priorities for their dental care. We clearly communicate how our practice manages their care, and provide transparent billing information. Sharing this information can help the patient determine if we are a good fit.
Here are some qualities of a good dentist you should look for when choosing a dental care provider:
They take the time to educate you
A good dentist will take the time to educate you so you understand your options and can make informed decisions about your care. They should be able and willing to discuss with full disclosure their methods, timing, and costs.
Communicating ALL of your options is a core value at DGY Dentistry. We make no assumptions when it comes to what people want for themselves.
They are compassionate
A good dentist should prioritize your comfort and safety. This includes following proper sanitation protocols and dental care best practices, and always listening to your concerns.
According to a recent survey, 61% of people suffer from dental fear due to concerns about pain, the smell of chemicals, and even the sound of the drill. Your dentist should be considerate of any dental anxiety you may have and explore treatment options like sedation dentistry, if needed.
Reviews are a great tool to help you judge what is a good dental practice, since that is direct communication from patients.
They don’t promote cheap dentistry
Many patients seek out the cheapest dental care they can find, but cheap dentistry can end up hurting you in the long run.
Some dentists may appear more expensive on the surface because they participate as a dental provider in fewer insurance networks. But this can actually be to the patient’s advantage because the insurance company and policy dictate what type of dentistry they allow. In many cases, insurance wants to pay for whatever is least expensive, even if that dental procedure doesn’t give the best outcome. Dentistry is expensive and having to prematurely replace dental work is even more costly, so a restoration is not just a restoration — your dentist should provide the time to plan and deliver treatment with the best products possible for a long-lasting restoration.
For example, a patient with severe gum disease may be able to save their teeth with surgical intervention, but insurance may only pay to extract and make a denture. In other cases, insurance may not cover having a crown done, but they will pay for a filling, even if that filling will be less effective.
In these situations, a “cheap” dentist will likely go the less expensive route that falls within their profitability margins, which can limit the patients’ options in terms of treatment. There are many good dentists that are in-network, but they are often forced to work within the insurance companies’ restrictions and make tough decisions to remain profitable while delivering their dentistry.
What sets dentists apart is their ability to discern complications as well as suitable outcomes based on the goals of the patient, not their own. A good dentist should be willing to devote the time, care, and communication needed to provide the best possible outcomes.
It’s important to remember that oral health plays an important role in our overall health. You want to make sure you are getting stable, long-term results with your dental care. Although insurance has long separated the mouth from the body, the reality is that it is all body, and an unhealthy mouth can have a significant impact on the rest of you.
They take their time with patients
A good dentist will take their time with patients. The amount of time spent with a patient and their care has a direct impact on the outcome.
For example, a boutique dental provider like DGY Dentistry sees 8 to 10 patients a day, maximum, and spends 1.5 to 2 hours with each person. Our dentists aren’t pressured to see more patients to overcome the negative impact insurance participation has on the bottom line.
A dentist who participates with insurance, on the other hand, will likely have to see 2 to 2.5x more patients to be profitable.
They use high-quality materials
With cheap dental care, a dentist with a lower reimbursement rate on procedures may have a smaller budget for materials. And with margins so tight, they may need to look at ways to cut corners when it comes to the quality of their materials. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad dentist, but they are stuck in a situation that requires them to make these sacrifices to stay somewhat profitable.
Unfortunately, materials from cheaper, low-quality labs or outsourced from overseas often lack in appearance and performance. This may leave patients unhappy with the appearance of their smile or require that materials like fillings and crowns need replacing sooner.
A good dentist will use only the finest materials for your dental work. There is no pleasure in prematurely replacing dentistry that was not done well, so crowns and other materials should be highly refined and fabricated in a quality lab.
At DGY Dentistry, we are committed to using the best materials so our patients can experience an excellent restoration that can last decades. When you experience the difference in quality the fees will no longer be an issue.
How to find a good dentist in your area
There are a number of ways you can find a good dentist in your area. The American Dental Association recommends using the American Dental Association’s Find-a-Dentist tool, checking with your local dental society, and/or asking friends and family for referrals.
When vetting potential dentists, be sure to look at reviews and the language on their website to learn about their values and philosophy for treatment. At DGY Dentistry, for example, we make it clear that we emphasize compassion, creativity, and quality when it comes to dental care. We pride ourselves in clearly communicating your procedures and choices with no-pressure consultations and transparent payment options.