“10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing Your Dentist!”
Hello, I am Dr. Ralph Parkin, Colorado Springs dentist and owner of Cheyenne Mountain Dental Center. The selection of a dentist and dental team to take care of an individual’s or a family’s dental needs is a challenge many face, especially when they move to a new area. Most people really do not know what questions to ask a prospective dentist. This can be a source of concern and even be intimidating to a person seeking a good dentist. Not knowing what to ask may cause a person to delay even starting the process of finding the right dentist.
As a practicing dentist with over 27 years experience, I know that time delays can lead to unwanted dental problems. I am writing this report in the hopes that it will be of help to you in choosing a dentist.
I have compiled a list of questions to ask that I believe will be helpful in your search for the ‘right’ dentist. Before you can start asking questions however, you need to narrow the field of possible choices available to you by one or more of the following:
Location: Many people want a dentist to be reasonably close to their home or office location, say within 5 miles or so. Obviously this is for convenience and is certainly a consideration. The majority of my patients lives or work within my geographic service area. So, if possible, staying within the limitations of your geographic area can make sense.
Referral: Ask a friend or co-worker if they can recommend a good dentist. This is not a bad way to narrow the field. Do not discount the experiences a friend has had with a dental office.
First impressions: If you are looking through the yellow pages you will notice most dentists ads look alike. Sure some ads are larger or smaller but I think you would agree they are not much help in making you feel you have found the dentist for you. This is true for Google and Yahoo searches as well. Here is a suggestion that will help narrow the field for you. Select an office that is of interest to you and call them! Talk with the receptionist who answers your call. Is she happy you called? Is her voice smiling as she speaks with you? Ask any questions you might like at this time. Do they treat children? How long would it take to get an appointment? What are their office hours, etc? Were your questions answered? Were you offered an appointment that worked with your needs and schedule? Evaluate how you were treated over the phone?
I firmly believe that dental team members treat patients and prospective patients the way the dentist treats his or her staff! If
that the dentist cares enough to treat his staff well and will treat you with care and kindness as well.
Now make the appointment and get ready to meet the doctor and staff members. Your initial opportunity to visit with the doctor should not be while you are upside down in a dental treatment chair! Every person is different, with different wants and needs and some even have fears, which since I used to be a “Chicken” patient myself, are understandable, so the initial interview should be in less stressful surroundings.
Now the 10 Questions to ask!
First, ask yourself from your initial interactions with this dental office, including the examination and the consultation (it should be a sit down one on one discussion of findings and exact treatment needs):
- Do you feel that you are amongst friends, people that care about you and treat you well? Do You? Is this the place you would be comfortable receiving dental care now and into the future? Might you be willing to refer family and friends to this office?
- Are you completely certain that the dentist has your best interest at heart, or stated another way is he or she watching out for you? Do you feel that when the doctor is with you that you have his or her full attention: that you are the most important person in the world to him or her at that moment? It is important that you feel important. After all, it is your dental health and dental well being that is at stake here! You will have specific questions regarding your personal dental situation that only you will know. Be sure you get the opportunity to ask them and be able to gather all the information you need to make decisions, after all a doctors main responsibility is to be a teacher before being a healer.
- Are you in agreement with the dentist as to what constitutes proper dental care for you? The decision to buy dentistry needs to be 100% your own. You should not feel pressured like you are dealing with the proverbial used car salesman. (My apologies to any salesman!)
Does the proposed treatment for you match identically with the treatment the doctor would purchase and perform for a member of
- his or her own family given identical dental circumstances? You might want to ask this question.
- Does the practice offer convenient hours for you such as Saturday appointments if you work during the week?
- Are you willing to do your part to ensure the successful outcome of your treatment? Are you willing to make and keep your dental appointments? Some dental procedures take more time than others.
- Will you be treated in a gentle caring manner? You want your care to be as gentle and pain free as possible, don’t you? I sure do! If you are concerned it is perfectly appropriate to ask to speak with patients who have received similar care about how it was. Was the procedure well tolerated and as pain free as possible?
- Does the office have financial options such as interest free financing programs to help make dental care more affordable? This may seem like an odd question to ask yourself however it is important. Dental insurance isn’t what it used to be. The cost of dental care has risen over time. IT is important that the doctor and his office staff are able to discuss payment options with you so you will not worry about costs.
- Are you certain that you consider the dentist to be the expert in regards to your mouth? You and he are going to have to work together to accomplish your desired care. Be sure that the comfortable doctor/ patient relationship has been established. You are employing the doctor as the foremost expert when it comes to your oral health.
10. Has the doctor kept up with the latest advances in dental care, such as the new super low exposure digital e-rays, diagnostic lasers, intra-oral cameras, mercury free fillings, the latest quick adult orthodontic treatment and the new affordable mini dental implant procedures?
There are new advances in Oral Cancer detection devices that quickly and painlessly detect changes in the mouth that could be serious Advancements are always being made and good doctors keep up with what is happening.
I know that some of these questions deal with your feelings. Do not discount them. Hopefully this free report has been an eye opener for you and you now feel more comfortable that you can find the dentist for you and your family.
Occasionally you will find introductory offers such as the one I have called a ”get to know each other” offer to allow residence in my service area to easily and economically visit my practice. Take advantage of these offers to check out the practice. See the offer in this website and you are welcome to give my staff and myself an opportunity to be the dental office you have been looking for.
Hopefully this information has helped you in your search for the dental office that is ideal for your needs.
In the interest of good dental health,
Ralph F. Parkin D.M.D.