Much has been said about the importance of regular dental checkups. However, people don’t just endure a trip to the dentist’s chair for the obvious oral health benefits. They want to find a dentist that takes care of their teeth and makes them comfortable. After all, a lot of trust goes into the process. A dental practitioner will know what you ate, whether you have bad breath, what habits you have, and whether you brush your teeth regularly (awkward!).
To make good on your twice-a-year checkups, you must know how to pick a good dentist you can rely on and feel confident in. Here are some qualities you need to check when choosing the perfect one.
University education and training are one thing, but experience is something else. The latter is a must for anyone in the medical field. Experience will allow the dentist to understand whether that black spot needs immediate attention or to let it go till the next checkup. Dentists who have been exposed to numerous conditions and patients are typically more confident not only in their technical know-how but also in how they manage patients.
A good dentist can diagnose and fix your dental issues, but a great one will work with you. They’ll lay down all options available based not only on your condition but also on your lifestyle and budget. For example, if you can’t commit to braces for work reasons, your dentist could recommend other teeth-straightening solutions, such as invisible aligners. If you don’t have enough quid to pay for the treatment in full, they might offer you more flexible payment plans, such as promotional financing.
A dentist can quickly sell you the most expensive or, perhaps, the easiest treatment. But a dentist who cares understands your entire situation.
3. Calming and Engaging
Do you know what you like in a dentist? Some people like chatting, while others work silently. Which do you prefer? Your dentist should pass your vibe check, plain and simple. A paper in the Journal of the American Dental Association reports that over 54% of patients don’t follow through with their checkups if they don’t like their dentist. If you trust your dentist, you can be honest about never flossing, how you fell asleep without brushing, or the pints you drank at the pub. In turn, you can rest assured they will be just as honest with you.
Finding a kind dentist is especially crucial for parents. According to a 2014 Medical Principles and Practice study, a previous bad dental experience can trigger Dental Fear and Anxiety (DFA), also known as dentophobia. It’s one of the reasons many people fail to turn dental visits into a habit.
A dentist should not only be equipped with the latest digital tools (see the next tip!) but should also encourage you to be more engaged and active when it comes to dental care. They must serve to clean and repair your dental issues but also educate you about your oral health. Remember, you’re both in this together!
4. Well-Equipped and Updated
Look around. Is the clinic pristine? It should go without saying that any place where medicine is practised should be sanitised impeccably. Dentists put equipment in your open mouth, so they should take extra precautions regarding cleanliness.
But beyond that, dentists should strive to update their repertoire. Are they familiar with the latest technology or the most hi-tech treatments in the field? For example, do they know about the patented ClearQuartz material that composes ClearCorrect’s aligners? Each piece has three layers (an elastomeric one between two composed of resilient, low-porosity materials) that gently but firmly nudge your teeth straight, plus a high trimline that contributes to its nearly invisible effect.
Orthodontists who work with ClearCorrect also utilise ClearPilot. It is an intuitive planning tool that lets you visualise your teeth-straightening journey. It allows the specialist more insight into your dental evaluation and invites you to be more proactive and engaged with your treatment. Remember that bit about dentists who include you in the picture?
5. Practical and Accessible
A hard-to-reach clinic might give you excuses to skip your appointment. So, make sure to find a dentist that is in a convenient location: walkable, parking access, pet-friendly – and any other metric you can think of. Frankly, dental visits can feel like a chore sometimes, so make it easy for yourself – and your oral health.
How to choose a good dentist? Find one with whom you can have a long-term relationship. And like any other relationship, you must have criteria that appeal to you. Start with this checklist and you’ll find the one in no time!
Freeman, R., Freeman, R., & Humphris, G. (2014). Why Are People Afraid of the Dentist? Observations and Explanations. Medical Principles and Practice, 23(4), 295–301.
Graham, M. M., Logan, H. L., & Tomar, S. L. (2004). Is trust a predictor of having a dental home? Journal of the American Dental Association, 135(11), 1550–1558.