How to Choose a Good Dentist? – Things to Check and Questions to Ask When Finding a Dentist
The quality of your dental work is very important in your long-term dental health, that’s why we have decided to put together a detailed guide on how to choose a great dentist, and how to spot a bad one. Choosing a good dentist requires some technical knowledge and effort but it is critical when it comes to extending the life of your teeth. There is a huge difference in what a mediocre dentist can offer compared to a great dentist and in this article, we’ll discuss how to find not only a good dentist but the best one. And in most cases this will not be a single person – this comprehensive article is about finding the best possible healthcare team to care about your teeth!
Before we start, please note that in this article we focus only on assessing the quality of dentists and their services. Because of this, this article is not about choosing the best reasonably priced dentist, as we have decided to completely skip all the economical and convenience factors, which are: - is the office easily accessible from your work or home? - what are the office hours, are they convenient for you? - does the dentist participate in your dental health plan? - what is the dentist's office policy on missed appointments? In this article we will focus mostly on standard dental care - that is diagnosing and treating tooth decay, root canals, implants, and periodontal treatment. Choosing a cosmetic dentist (teeth whitening, veneers, digital smile design) is not covered by this article.
1. Non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments available
Early diagnosis of any potential problems is crucial because the earlier they are diagnosed the greater the chances of treatment without drilling the tooth. Most dentists base their checkups on clinical evaluation, which is visually assessing your teeth plus poking them with a dental explorer (a sharp metal tool that helps to check if a tooth is soft at vulnerable spots). Sadly, this kind of examination is not able to detect proximal caries (located between teeth), and once these are visible to the naked eye they’re usually advanced.
This is why your main checkup dentist, the one you most often go to for regular checkups should be equipped and trained with DIAGNOcam and DIAGNOdent. This is a tool that enables the dentist to see between the teeth or under fillings using light illumination. Bitewing x-rays are also really safe and effective ways to detect cavities before they appear clinically.
Once any incipient or early decay has been detected a good dentist will proceed with non-invasive treatments using ozone, fluoride concentrate, and hydroxyapatite to remineralize the decay.
2. Using a microscope or magnifying glasses
Using magnification provides a more reliable diagnosis as well as less invasive treatment (especially when combined with modern treatment options). This is because your dentist can see your teeth in greater detail.
3. Areas of expertise
First of all, you need to know that dentists have their specialties:
1. General dentist – detecting and treating cavities, performing dental cleanings, and basic restorative treatments like crowns or veneers.
2. Endodontist – performing root canal procedures if your decay affected the pulp or your pulp has vitality problems for some other reasons.
3. Orthodontist – fixing the alignment of your teeth.
4. Periodontist – treatment and prevention of gum-related diseases.
5. Prosthodontist – restoring and/or replacing broken or missing teeth – teeth crowns on existing roots or implants.
6. Implantologist – restoring missing teeth roots with dental implants.
7. Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons – removing wisdom teeth, and jaw surgeries.
4. Approach to treating decay – passive vs aggressive in treating decay
According to an old saying “ask 2 dentists and you’ll get 3 opinions”.
5. Approach to root canals
We believe that whenever possible you should avoid getting a root canal at all costs. Sadly, for some dentists, it is easier to jump straight to an RCT rather than trying to save a tooth.
6. Comparing online reviews of dentists
We believe that online reviews of dentists serve only one function – they can be a warning sign that a certain dentist is troublesome. But be aware that the typical dental patient is not able to tell if the quality of dental work was high or not, and every comment you read may be manipulated and published as buzz marketing (rather than being an actual patient reviewing the dentist). This is why you should never choose a dentist based on their “average score” on a rating website or based on how many positive reviews they got. In our own research, we found many practitioners with poor quality of service and tons of positive comments, while our’s dentists of choice had only a few reviews.
1. Routine checkups
– good dentist: routine bitewing x-rays, DIAGNOcam and DIAGNOdenth examination, tooth vitality evaluation
– bad dentist: clinical (visual) evaluation only plus poking with a dental explorer
2. Treating enamel demineralization (“white spot lesions”)
– good dentist: ozone therapy, fluoride therapy, hydroxyapatite
– bad dentist: no recommendation (“let’s wait and see”) or drilling the tooth right away
3. Treating dental decay limited to enamel (that is not affecting dentine yet)
– good dentist: remineralization protocol or DMG Icon enamel infiltration
– bad dentist: (“let’s wait and see”) or drilling the tooth right away
4. Treating regular caries that penetrated past DEJ (dentine-enamel junction)
– good dentist: working under a microscope in a minimally-invasive manner, using high-quality materials, using sandblasting or laser instead of classic drilling
– bad dentist: classic drill and fill using a regular diamond bur
5. Treating deep cavities near pulp or with pulp exposure
– good dentist: using ozone and regenerative materials, avoiding root canals at all costs (given that the tooth is still vital)
– bad dentist: going straight to the root canal therapy to make it easier for the patient
6. Performing root canal therapy
– good dentist: working with a microscope, using x-rays and/or CBCT before/during/after treatment
– bad dentist: opposite of the above
7. Functional dentistry
– good dentist: being a functional dentist – the holistic approach of looking at your
– bad dentist: just treating the symptoms in your mouth without searching for a root cause
How to Spot a Bad Dentist
There is a number of factors indicating that a certain dentist is not a solid one. Below we have listed the top red flags you may look for:
1. Red flags when performing dental procedures:
– not using a dental suction system to remove saliva from your mouth (this is a big one!)
– working without an assistant, solo working without support
– answering a phone or touching unrelated items when in the middle of a dental procedure
– not using local anesthesia when performing potentially painful procedures
– performing procedures with the patient sitting instead of lying
2. Messy or unkempt office
3. Impolite stuff, not able to provide you with all the information you need
4. Limited options for treatments
5. Declaring the need for too many treatments, especially when your last dentist did not say you need them
Get educated and do your research
Before agreeing to have any dental work done educate yourself so that you are sure you can assess your dentist’s proficiency. Whenever in doubt do not agree to start anything. Remember, you always have the full right to know everything in detail – especially what will be performed and what working technique/principle will be applied. If your questions cannot be answered on the phone (some receptionists offer only basic information) schedule an intro appointment and ask about everything that bothers you. If the dentist is not willing to answer all of your questions this may be an indication that this dentist is not a good choice.
Quick questions regarding choosing a good dentist:
Dentist prices are unfair
The prices charged by dentists can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the location, the type of treatment, and the individual dentist’s training and experience. Some people may feel that the prices charged by dentists are unfair or too high, while others may feel that they are reasonable or even affordable. Ultimately, the prices charged by dentists are determined by a combination of market forces and individual factors, and they may be perceived as fair or unfair depending on an individual’s perspective and circumstances. If you feel that the prices charged by your dentist are unfair, you may want to shop around and compare prices at different dental practices to see if you can find a more affordable option. You can also talk to your dentist about your concerns and see if there are any payment options or discounts available that can help make dental care more affordable for you.
Asking a dentist’s professional opinion on treatment
If you have questions or concerns about a dental treatment, it’s always a good idea to ask your dentist for their professional opinion. Dentists are trained and experienced in providing dental care, and they can provide valuable insights and advice about your treatment options. To ask your dentist for their professional opinion on a treatment, you can schedule a consultation appointment. During the consultation, you can discuss your concerns and ask the dentist any questions you may have about the treatment. The dentist will evaluate your oral health and explain the different treatment options that are available, as well as the potential risks and benefits of each option. The dentist will also take into account your individual needs and preferences, and they will provide professional recommendations for the best course of action. It’s important to remember that the dentist’s recommendation is not a requirement, and you are free to make your own decision about your dental care. However, the dentist’s advice can help you make an informed decision that is best for your oral health and overall well-being.
How to find a good dentist in my area?
Finding a good dentist in your area can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to help you find a dentist who is qualified, experienced, and reputable. Here are some tips for finding a good dentist in your area:
- Ask for recommendations: Ask your friends, family, or colleagues if they have a dentist they would recommend. Personal recommendations can be a great way to find a dentist who is trusted and respected in the community.
- Check online reviews: Look for online reviews of dentists in your area. Read through the reviews to get a sense of what other people are saying about the dentist’s services and customer service.
- Consider the dentist’s qualifications: Look for a dentist who is licensed and accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) or a similar professional organization. This can help to ensure that the dentist has the necessary training and experience to provide high-quality care.
- Ask about the dentist’s approach to care: Ask the dentist about their approach to dental care and how they work with patients. A good dentist will be willing to listen to your concerns and explain their treatment recommendations in a way that is easy to understand.
- Consider the location and convenience: Choose a dentist who is located conveniently for you and offers hours that fit your schedule. This can make it easier for you to access dental care when you need it.
By following these tips, you can increase your chances of finding a good dentist in your area who can provide the care and support you need for a healthy mouth.
Should I trust dentist cavity filling?
It is generally safe to trust a dentist to perform a cavity filling. Cavity fillings are a common dental procedure in which a dentist fills a hole in the tooth that has been caused by tooth decay. The procedure is generally safe and effective, and it can help to restore the tooth to its normal shape and function. Dentists are trained and experienced in performing cavity fillings, and they use high-quality materials and techniques to ensure the best possible outcome. However, as with any medical procedure, there is a small risk of complications, such as sensitivity or infection. It’s important to discuss any concerns or questions you may have with your dentist before the procedure and to follow their instructions carefully after the filling has been placed. This can help to minimize any risks and ensure the success of the filling.
Dentist says I need 6 fillings (or X number of fillings)
If a dentist tells you that you need 6 fillings, it means that you have 6 cavities in your teeth that require treatment. A cavity is a hole that forms in the tooth when the tooth enamel breaks down and bacteria infect the inner layers of the tooth. A filling is used to restore the tooth to its normal shape and function, and to prevent further decay. If a dentist recommends 6 fillings, it means that you have 6 cavities that need to be filled in order to protect your teeth and maintain your oral health. The dentist will likely recommend that you schedule several appointments to have the fillings placed, and they will explain the different filling options and materials that are available. It’s important to follow the dentist’s recommendations and schedule the filling appointments as soon as possible. This can help to prevent the cavities from getting worse and causing more serious problems.
I haven’t been to the dentist in 10-15 years
If you haven’t been to the dentist in 10 or 15 years, it’s important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining good oral health, and they can help to prevent problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. During a dental checkup, the dentist will examine your teeth and gums, clean your teeth, and check for any signs of problems. If the dentist finds any issues, they will recommend the appropriate treatment. Going to the dentist regularly can help to catch problems early, when they are easier and less expensive to treat. Additionally, regular dental checkups can help to maintain the health and appearance of your teeth and gums, and they can provide peace of mind that your oral health is in good condition. If you haven’t been to the dentist in 10 years, it’s best to schedule an appointment and get back on track with your oral health care.
Countries with best dental care
There are many countries around the world that have high-quality dental care. Some of the countries with the best dental care include:
- United States: The United States has a large and highly developed dental care system, with a wide range of advanced treatments and technologies available. Many dentists in the US are trained at some of the world’s leading dental schools, and they have access to the latest research and techniques.
- Canada: Canada has a well-established dental care system, with a strong emphasis on prevention and education. Canadian dentists are known for their high levels of skill and expertise, and they have access to a wide range of modern treatments and technologies.
- Switzerland: Switzerland is known for its high-quality healthcare, and its dental care system is no exception. Swiss dentists are renowned for their professionalism and expertise, and they offer a wide range of advanced treatments and services.
- Germany: Germany has a long tradition of excellence in dental care, and its dentists are highly trained and experienced. German dental clinics are known for their modern facilities and high-quality services, and they offer a wide range of treatments and technologies.
- Japan: Japan is known for its advanced healthcare system, and its dental care is no exception. Japanese dentists are highly skilled and trained, and they use advanced technologies and techniques to provide high-quality care.
These are just a few examples of countries with excellent dental care. There are many other countries around the world that offer high-quality dental care, and it’s important to research and compare different options to find the best fit for your needs and preferences.
Do dentists use breathing machine when putting you out
Yes, dentists may use a breathing machine when putting a patient under anesthesia for a dental procedure. A breathing machine, also known as a mechanical ventilator, is a device that helps to deliver oxygen and control the breathing rate of a person who is unable to breathe on their own. The breathing machine is typically used in conjunction with general anesthesia, which is a type of medication that is used to put the patient into a state of unconsciousness. The breathing machine helps to ensure that the patient continues to receive a steady supply of oxygen while they are unconscious, and it can also help to remove carbon dioxide from the body. The use of a breathing machine is typically safe and effective, and it is monitored by trained professionals to ensure the patient’s safety and comfort.
Can’t see dentist for a week or month
If you are unable to see a dentist for a long period of time, there are several steps you can take to maintain your oral health and prevent problems. Here are some tips for caring for your teeth and gums if you can’t see a dentist for a long period of time:
- Practice good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and use mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen your breath.
- Avoid sugary and acidic foods: Sugar and acid can cause tooth decay and damage your teeth and gums. Avoid sugary and acidic foods as much as possible, and limit your intake of sweet and sour snacks and drinks.
- Drink plenty of water: Water can help to wash away bacteria and debris from your mouth, and it can also help to keep your mouth hydrated and healthy. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and avoid sugary and acidic beverages.
- Use over-the-counter pain relief: If you have a toothache or other dental pain, you can use over-the-counter pain relief medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to help manage the pain.
- Seek emergency care if necessary: If you have a serious dental problem, such as a tooth abscess or a broken tooth, you may need to seek emergency dental care. Contact your local dental clinic or emergency room for advice and treatment.
By following these tips, you can help to maintain your oral health and prevent problems until you are able to see a dentist.
Other questions that will be answered with next update of this article:
i have one week unttil dentist
new dentist says i have multiple cavities
demand dental records
scamed by a dental office
i haven’t been to the dentist in years
how do i know my dentist is telling the truth
what to do when you need a dentist on a weekend
dentist lied about cavities
dentist keeps saying i do not have cavities
do dentist rip you off
how can dentist apply functional medicine
how to get second opinion dentist
must your dentist give you your medical records?
is it okay to go to two different dentists or do they get mad about that
good dentists are rare
how to find the best dentist for kids
getting a second opinion dentist
are some dentists cheaper than others
is it legal for a dentist to charge for xray release
haven’t been to the dentist in 20 years
is my dentist ripping me off
i went to dentist for checkup now my took ache
how to quickly clean teeth before dentist
do i have the right to request my dental records
dentist check up dont work
what to expect when getting a filling at the dentist
can you ask for x ray from dentist
do i have right to xrays taken by dentist
suggested ways of find a good dentist
dentist recommending cavity
my dentist is selling me too many procedures
not agreeing with my dentist
dentists near me that aren’t scams
how can you tell if a dentist is being honest about periodontil
dentist never filled my teeth
why do dentists only see patients under 20
how to pick a dentist
how to know if you have a good dentist
dentist filled a tooth that didn’t need it
i think my dentist is charging me too much
finding a good dentist
do dentist recommend unnecessary procedures
can dentists cheat
do dentists take off their wedding rings while doing examinations
how to find the best dentist in my area
signs of a bad dentist
Please check back soon as we will update this article on a weekly basis.
This article is still work in progress and was last updated on January 7, 2023.