what to look for in dentist

Choosing a Dentist: 7 Things to look for

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Looking after our teeth is a vital part of our health, and as such, finding a professional dentist you can trust is paramount. A 2022 report showed that almost half of the worlds’ population suffer from oral diseases, and the number of us who routinely seek dental care is concerningly low.

People of all ages should see a dentist regularly, to check the health of their teeth and gums. This can prevent painful conditions such as gum disease, impacted teeth, and cavities. Not only can dentists provide treatment for a range of oral conditions, but they can also use preventative measures such as deep cleaning to help protect the longevity of our teeth and gums – especially in children.

If you’re looking to find a dentist you can trust, be sure to assess them against these critical points.

1. Trustworthy credentials

It’s an unfortunate truth that not all dental practitioners are authorised and qualified to practice. Always research the credentials of any dentist you’re considering, and ensure they are registered with at least one independent medical body.

In Malaysia, the medical body responsible for certifying and regulating dentists is the Malaysian Dental Council (MDC). The MDC ensures that dental practitioners adhere to the required standards of practice and ethical guidelines in the country. It is also responsible for maintaining the Register of Dentists for the country.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the qualifications of each dentist, where they studied and how many years of experience they have. It’s a good idea also to look for reviews from past customers on independent websites such as Trustpilot to verify they have a good history.

2. Compassionate staff

Going to the dentist can be disconcerting for many people, and for children it can be a strange and uncomfortable experience. Therefore, it’s essential to be as confident as possible that you’ll receive a warm welcome when you attend your new dental practice.

Again, looking through reviews can help here, but be sure also to telephone the dentist and assess the tone and enthusiasm of the receptionist. Be wary of those who make you feel rushed or just want to book you in as quickly as possible – they should be happy to take the time you need to feel reassured.

3. Insurance and payment plans

Dentistry can often be expensive, especially if you’re looking for cosmetic or specialist treatments. This is one of the main reasons why people seek dental care overseas, but it’s still worth checking which payment plans are available at your chosen practice. Be sure that you have secured private health insurance before commencing any treatments, and ask your dentist to be transparent about the total costs upfront.

Consider also the additional costs of your travel, accommodation and expenses whilst visiting your dentist. When undergoing dental surgery or more invasive procedures, you may need a follow-up appointment or to stay a little longer to ensure you recover properly before you can return home.

4. Cleanliness and hygiene

Of course, one of the most important factors when choosing a dentist is hygiene. As a clinical service provider, dentist practices should have a high level of cleanliness. No matter where you choose to travel for your treatment, be sure to check the practice meets the national standard of cleanliness and that they have a hygiene certificate.

If at any point during your visit to any dentist, you feel the area is questionable, have the confidence to walk away. Be aware of potential red flags when visiting your dentist, and don’t allow anyone to pressure you into a treatment you don’t want or need. Gloves should always be worn by dentists, and each tool should be either sterilised or come in a single-use, sealed packet.

5. Excellent Customer service

Customer service encompasses every interaction you have with a dental professional. It begins at booking your appointment, continues throughout your treatment, and also extends to aftercare and availability for any questions or follow-up appointments.

If your dentist has an out-of-hours support line where you can call at any time for reassurance and advice, this is a huge plus. You can tell when you feel well cared for, so be sure to trust your instinct when relying on a dentist to look after your teeth and oral wellbeing. It’s a good idea to compile a list of questions to ask your dentist ahead of time, so that you’re prepared and don’t forget to mention anything.

6. Specialist treatments

Naturally, you need to be reassured that your new dentist can provide you with the services you’re looking for. Whether it’s routine check-ups or teeth whitening, be sure to consider all of the possible treatments you will require when seeking a new practice.

There may be a number of different dentists you will need to see for each, as they often specialise in different areas of dentistry. Follow the same protocol of checking their credentials and building a trusting relationship with each dentist to ensure you feel confident in their abilities.

7. Transparency

Healthcare professionals should be transparent about the process and methods of any proposed procedures. Although you don’t need to know all of the scientific details, they should make the effort to tell you as much information as possible about your treatments.

When it comes to costs and any additional medicines for your recovery process, the same should be true. If your dentist is struggling to give you a definite figure or keeps adding new steps or fees to the bill – trust your gut and walk away.

Transparency also covers your dentist setting realistic expectations for you with regard to any proposed treatments. Whilst we all would love to have Hollywood white and perfectly straight teeth, this is rarely a one-step process. A good dentist will be clear about recovery times and how many additional appointments you will need to achieve your goals, whether they’re cosmetic or medical.

Take your time

Choosing a dentist is something that should be done carefully, and is not to be rushed. Be sure to take the time to research and enquire about everything you need to know before committing to one dental practice. When you feel confident in your dentist’s abilities, and that you can trust their reputable team to be there for you both in the short and long term, you’ll know you’ve found the right dentist for you.

Conclusion

Navigating the world of dental care requires more than just a checklist; it’s about connecting with a professional who resonates with your personal and dental health aspirations. With the seven key factors we’ve highlighted, you’re poised to discern the best fit for your dental journey. After all, a radiant smile isn’t just about aesthetics—it’s a testament to dedicated care and trust.

If you’re searching for a dental clinic that embodies all these qualities and more, we invite you to Stellar Dental. Experience top-notch dental care in a welcoming environment tailored to meet your unique needs. Schedule your appointment today and let us be a part of your journey to a brighter, healthier smile. Contact us now!

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