Are you searching for the best dentist for you? One you can trust? Who does quality dental work? And truly cares about your dental health?
Or do you want to know that your current dentist is giving you the best possible dental care?
You may have asked friends and searched online for recommendations. Next you want to choose the best dentist for you. You will benefit from a long term relationship with a local dentist in your area.
It can be hard to evaluate a dentist’s skill and philosophy. After all, dentistry is technical. And you want highly skilled AND good value dentistry.
Remember that dental care is a personal service. Therefore, great dentists have qualities that ensure that you feel comfortable and confident with your dentist.
Here are ten questions to guide you towards the right dentist for you:
Is Dentist Committed to You and Your Community?
Who will be treating you? Is the practice locally owned? Are the dentists and hygienists on the website the ones who will be taking care of you? How long has the dentist worked in your community?
Check to make sure a dentist manages the office and makes patient decisions. Many dental offices are owned by outside corporations, with central offices in far away states. Turnover of dentists and staff is high.
Do not stay with a dentist who makes treatment decisions before getting to know you-or before listening to what you want.
An excellent dentist is committed to her patients over the long term. She wants to give the best treatment options after getting to know you and your health situation.
This relationship assures that you will get the level of care that you deserve.
Is Preventive Dentistry Important?
Does the dentist want to avoid dental problems rather than treat dental problems? Does the practice have a strong dental hygiene program? Are the hygienists experienced and well trained?
Ask the dental staff, “How long are your hygiene appointments? Also, “What exactly do you regular checkups include?”
In a thorough cleaning, the hygienist scales beneath the gums and does a thorough periodontal probe. She talks to you about your general health as it relates to your dental health. In addition, she points out problem areas and instructs you on improving home care.
Your hygienist will also discuss your risk for gum disease. Gum disease is a major concern with well trained dentists and hygienists.
Most patients need to visit the hygienist every 6 months for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Initial visits and periodontal cleanings may take 1 ½ to 2 hours. Ask your hygienist to explain if she recommends shorter or less frequent cleaning appointments. Make sure that all bases are covered in your cleaning AND it is a good value.
Is Dentist Ethical and Trustworthy?
It is important to gain a level of trust with your dentist. A good dentist listens well and takes the time to educate you and discuss your options.
Your dentist should tell you what your “ideal” treatment is. In addition, he will present alternatives for you to consider. He will help you make wise decision for your teeth based on
A reputation of caring concern and service is built over years, not weeks or months. This will grow as you establish a long term relationship with the right dentist.Dr. Bill Cranford
With modern dentistry, patients can see through digital images and photography what problems need to be addressed. Your dentist should be willing to explain why you need specific treatments. He will show you problem areas on the computer screen or through printed photos.
Trust in your dentist’s treatment plans is critical. A good dentist will show you as well as tell you when he diagnoses problems in your mouth.
What are Areas of Expertise?
You want to find a dentist who is confident in treating you and your family. Does the practice see patients of all ages? Will children and teenagers like this office?
If you are interested in cosmetic dentistry, look at the website for before and after photos, or read about cases the dentist has completed.
Ask the office staff if the dentist does dental implants, full mouth reconstructions. What is the office policy on dental sedation?
A good dentist will want to feel confident that he will do a good job on your treatment. He will pass that confidence on to you.
Just because a person has DMD or DDS after their names does not mean they are experts in every area of oral healthcare. Find an office that is experienced in areas that you value.
Are Dentists Well Trained?
You want to select a dentist who is committed to continuing education. She should know about current research on materials and technique.
Good dentists take many more hours of training than the minimum required by the state to maintain license. Talk to the office staff about training for dentists and staff.
Many dentists who value education obtain Fellowship or Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry. These honors required over 700 hours of education and hands on training.
You may want to search the website https://www.agd.org/ to find dentists in your area who have reached this level of expertise.
Who are your Dental Specialists?
It is important that your dentist has a good relationship with qualified local dental specialists.
If you need specialized care, you want a professional who will take care of you. He should stand behind his work and be available if you have problems. Your dentist should be able to get an immediate referral if you have an emergency.
A quality dentist will explain why he refers you to specialists for dental treatments. He will follow your care and make sure the specialist makes you a priority.
If you are seeking cosmetic dentistry, talk to your dentist about his dental lab and his relationship with the lab technicians. Can you go to the lab if you have questions about color matching or fit?
Is Office Clean and Modern?
You need to be confident that your dental office is sterile and equipped with cutting edge technology.
The office should have an organized sterilization area. Operatories should be spotless and free of clutter. You should feel safe in the office.
Observe that the operatories have cameras and digital imaging that allow the dentist to show you what he sees in your mouth. Does the office use CEREC technology to scan your teeth? Do high speed handpieces allow a quieter and more comfortable dental experience?
A good dentist will be proud of the technology in his office and will be happy to show you what makes his office modern and up to date.
Does Dentist Handle Urgent Needs?
An important consideration is, How quickly can the dentist see you for an urgent concern? Are dentists available nights and weekends? How do you contact dentist after hours?
Will the office schedule a new patient appointment in the next one to four weeks? Is the office responsive to your needs?
Make sure the office staff listens to your concerns and tends to your needs quickly.
How is Treatment Presented?
Good dentists will not try to sell products and treatments you don’t need and don’t ask for. He will be conservative and try to save your natural teeth where possible.
The dentist will present options and discuss these with your budget and time constraints in mind. And he will not push you towards treatment that you are not comfortable with.
On the other hand, he will show you possibilities that will improve the way you look and feel and work with you towards getting the best treatment for you.
She will give you a detailed treatment plan which shows what treatment you need and how much it will cost. The office staff will work with insurance company to estimate what part insurance will cover.
You will know that your dentist respects your opinions, resources, and time by the way he presents treatment to you.
Do you like the Office Staff?
The best dentists care about their staff as well as their patients. A confident dentist will treat the staff members with respect and they will pass this on to patients.
Is the office staff warm and friendly? Do they work together as a team? Are they able and willing to answer your questions?
You will able to tell when the assistants and hygienists are proud of the care their office provides to patients. They will make you feel comfortable and relaxed at your dental visits. You will feel comfortable discussing your dental concerns with them.
Choosing Your Dentist
Make notes from the above list and discuss the items that are most important to you with your dentist. Or print this post and ask him to tell you why he is the best dentist for you based on the questions on the list.
Then follow your instincts in selecting your dental home.
A good dentist will be proud of his office, his training, and his ability to put you at ease. He will not rush into treatments. She will get to know you as a person and will understand your general as well as your dental health.
You have to trust and feel comfortable with a dentist for your long term dental care needs.
Warnings and Red Flags
You will be able to identify dental offices where the philosophy or standard of care does not match what you are seeking for your care.
Here are signs that the dentist could be upselling or over prescribing—or may not be a good match for you:
Your instincts warn you
A feeling of discomfort may be a warning that you cannot grow to trust this office for long term care. Follow your gut.
Conflict with past dental health
Ask questions if your dentist suggests treatment that does not make sense to you. A good dentist will welcome a second opinion.
Be skeptical if you go to a new dentist who suggests extensive treatment that you have not needed in the past.
“But insurance will pay”
An insurance policy should never dictate your dental treatment. The dentist should diagnose and recommend based on what is best for your long term dental health.
Your dentist may be able to schedule your treatments to maximize dental insurance benefits; however, he should not use insurance as a reason to treat your mouth.
Need or want cosmetic dentistry?
You should not be talked into cosmetic dentistry if you are happy with your smile. Less is often more with dental treatment.
Do not agree to cosmetic procedures which may slightly improve the way you look if your teeth and gums are healthy.
You were not aware of gum disease
What if you are surprised that your dentist insists on doing periodontal “deep cleanings” or “scaling and root planing?”
Dentists follow strict guidelines in diagnosing gum disease. Educate yourself on periodontal disease before agreeing to a treatment plan that is more involved that regular dental cleanings.
Read these posts (by Cranford Dental hygienists) to know for yourself if you need periodontal treatment:
What is Gum Disease?
Warning Signs of Gum Disease
How Dentists Diagnose Gum Disease
How to Treat Gum Disease
Trusted Local Dentists in Rock Hill, SC
At Cranford Dental we are committed to our patients in our local community. And we are proud of the many families we have treated as patients and friends over the past 35 years.
Our long time patients trust us for conservative dental care in a modern and caring office.
This office values training, technology, and a caring staff. I am committed to that for the future.Dr. Elizabeth Cranford Robinson
Please call 803-324-7670, make an appointment online, or stop by our office at 1721 Ebenezer Road in Rock Hill if you need to establish a long term dental relationship with a trusted local dentist.
Our dental team would be happy to show you our office and answer questions about your dental needs.
We would love to welcome you to Cranford Dental.