Ever had a bad haircut for $10, 50, or even $100 or more? What’s crazy is no matter how much hair cutters charge or their skill level, their state licenses indicate they’re all the same. Of course, we can see a bad haircut, and, hair always grows back. Not so easy with teeth.
What is Quality Dental Care?
As in every walk of life, it should come as no mystery that dentists also vary in knowledge, training, and skills. Further, as a measure of professional integrity, while the vast majority always views their patient’s best interest as foremost, a few might place profits first. That’s why it is important to know that quality dental care will normally be the most comfortable and healthiest, last the longest, and include only what you need and want.
Dental school education includes science classes and training in basic clinical skills. Because our dental school education is limited, clinical knowledge needs to continue well past the four years of structured education. That means one measure of quality will be your dentist’s commitment to continuing education, learning the latest clinical information, techniques, and materials. Of course, while knowledge alone does not guarantee quality dental care, it is always a necessary component.
Another aspect of quality, clinical skills, are most often hidden from sight in dimensions of microns too small to see, affects fit (health) and function (comfort). Clinical skills, dependent upon training, natural abilities, dedication, and experience, help determine all aspects of how well your dentistry will perform. One thing about skills that is universal to all professions is, the more carefully one works, the better the result. To assure high quality, your dentist will only work at a pace that is predictable and comfortable for the two of you.
Patients looking for quality care should always seek a dentist known for having professional integrity, knowledge, and skills. However, because not every dentist abides by the OPT-In Dental Advantage Code of Ethics, listed in the Resource section of our website, www.optindentaladvantage.com, there are certain precautions that should be considered:
- Many good dentists will offer low cost introductory services as a way to introduce themselves. Keep in mind, however, that others might use the same methods with the goal of pressuring you to accept more dental services than you need. Always ask why a treatment is recommended.
- Make sure your dentist designs your treatments. Sometimes, we rely on staff to share our findings with you and arrange appointments. However, some offices use non dentist sales people to illegally identify, design, and suggest treatment not clinically appropriate.
- Many good dentists rely on well trained staff to provide a portion of clinical services while still providing the majority of dental care themselves, unhurried and personally. If, however, staff is providing the vast majority of your dental care, quality might suffer.
- A quality dentist will take time to listen to you, and answer your questions, fully and honestly, always attentive to your concerns.
What is a Quality Dental Office?
Like dentists, not all dental offices are the same. Your visit to a quality dental office will include people who know you, have time for you, are happy to see you, and will always treat you like extended family. Additionally, they will always do their best to accommodate your schedule, provide fully explained treatment options, and make every effort to stay within your budget. And remember, fancy facilities and high tech equipment are nice to have, and can be a great adjunct to care. But, it’s people who determine quality.
We know right away if our haircut looks good. If it doesn’t, in a couple of weeks, we can easily get it trimmed. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult and costly to correct low quality dental care. Don’t be fooled into thinking all dentists and dentistry are the same. And keep in mind, the dental office is an extension of the owner, and will provide clues as to what to expect, and how much trust you should extend.
Most dentists always want to provide the care that all patients deserve. Choose wisely, and you won’t be disappointed.