What Should I Look For When Choosing a Dentist?

If you live in the DFW Motorplex, you know that it seems like there is a dental office on every corner.  It can be difficult to know which office to choose as your “dental home”.  Taking the typical steps of selecting the office nearest your home or workplace or simply going to the office contracted with your insurance carrier may not lead you to your best dental experience.

Here are some tips we recommend for finding an office that will meet your expectations and provide you with great long-term care!

Look for a Privately-Owned Practice

In your search through various dental offices, whether by perusing websites or making phone calls, try to find an office owned by the practicing dentist or dentists.  The reason this matters is that it gives you the greatest chance of seeing the same dentist at every visit.  This is in contrast to large chains or offices owned by corporations, which may have a revolving door of provider dentists.

You, as the patient, receive the highest quality of care from a dentist who is able to build a relationship and a history with you.  This allows the dentist to understand your unique risk factors and tailor any treatment for your specific needs.  A quick way to refer to this concept is “continuity of care”.  This goes for all healthcare: when you see the same doctor for an extended period of time, you get the highest quality and most customized treatment.

Look for an Experienced Team with Low Turnover

Another important aspect of a dental office is the team of front office staff, dental hygienists, and dental assistants.  An office that provides excellent dental care and prioritizes relationships will attract and keep a great team.  A staff that has a long history with a dental practice usually also indicates an owner dentist who treats them well.  A dentist who treats his team well will also treat his patients well.

As you visit various office websites, read through the page with the team members’ bios.  If you do not see a page entitled “Meet Our Team”, it is possible that the team has a high turnover rate, making it inconvenient to maintain a web page documenting which auxiliary personnel work there any given month.  If you see a page proudly describing the awesome team members who make the practice successful and specifically noting how long they have each been with the practice, you can bet it is a well-respected, well-treated team of wonderful dental professionals.

Look for Advanced Dental Technology

In dentistry, it is essential for a practice to commit to providing its patients with the latest dental technology.  Advances in dental technology make dental treatments more efficient, more comfortable, and more predictable.  An office that invests in dental technology shows a commitment to producing the highest quality dentistry in a way that ensures patient comfort and satisfaction.

Some important technologies to ask about when speaking with a dental office are the following:

  • Digital X-rays – Digital radiographs require much lower amounts of radiation than the older method of film x-rays.
  • Digital Impressions – Also called intraoral scanning, this replaces the older method of gooey, gag-inducing molds of your teeth.
  • Same Day Crowns – Using CAD/CAM technology, dentists can now eliminate the need for two separate dental appointments for a crown.

Look for Preventive Dental Care

One of the most important types of dental care that can change a patient’s dental health trajectory for the rest of his or her life is preventive dental care.  As you look for a dentist, look for one who provides preventive care.  This means that instead of just identifying and fixing dental problems as they arise, your dentist identifies risk factors and warning signs before a problem exists.  Preventive care means taking action to stop dental diseases like cavities and gum disease before they progress to needing dental treatment.

Preventive dental care includes consistent professional teeth cleanings, professional fluoride treatments, dental sealants, prescription of specific oral hygiene products, and making protective mouthguards.  Ask your dentist how they can help you prevent dental problems.

Preventive dental care is always less expensive and less extensive than treatment a problem after it occurs.

More Questions about Finding a Dentist?

Call 940-382-1750 to set up a consultation with Dr. Chowning.  We know that if you’ve read this article and are looking for a dentist who meets these requirements, you will find yourself in the right place at Timberlake Dental.

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