What Should You Expect From Your Dentist?

Whether you are visiting your dentist for the first time or it’s a return visit, it’s important that you are confident in the quality of care that your dentist provides. And starting with first impressions, a welcoming reception area and a clean and neat office environment are often signs of a well-run practice.

Note how promptly you are greeted and how long you’re asked to wait before being treated. While it’s not realistic to expect the practice to always be right on schedule, it is reasonable to expect to be told within a few minutes of your arrival whether there will be a delay.

During your visit, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the dental office present a professional atmosphere and a willingness to address your concerns? Is your medical history thoroughly reviewed prior to treatment or is it an afterthought? Health problems, such as high blood pressure, should be monitored at every dental appointment.
  • When dental work is performed, are staff members wearing masks, gloves and appropriate eyewear? Are gloves disposed of between patients?
  • Are all dental instruments stored in sealed bags following sterilization? Are all questions regarding sterilization answered to your satisfaction?
  • Is ample time given to a thorough teeth cleaning? Are your gums checked for overall health and are pocket depth readings taken to assess for periodontal disease? When you have your teeth cleaned, are you given hygiene instructions or is there discussion of the areas of your mouth where more attention is required?
  • Is a treatment plan presented to you? Have questions about proposed treatment been adequately explained, as well as the risks, alternatives, cost and benefits?
  • Are financial arrangements outlined prior to treatment? Does the office explain how they handle insurance and billing?

Following your exam, the dentist should present a plan for ongoing treatment – whether it’s a schedule of regular checkups or, when needed, more extensive dental work. Make sure that he or she explains treatment alternatives, benefits, risks and costs.

It’s important to find a dentist who takes time to answer questions and responds to your needs. By following these guidelines, you can feel more confident that you’ve found a quality dental office for you and your family.

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