Websites such as Amazon and Expedia.com have trained us to be price experts in our search for the perfect product. We expect to be able to use filters to instantly find the most bang for our buck – a process that works for purchasing shoes, air travel, electronics, even food items. Yet when it comes to choosing your dentist, the decision shouldn’t be based on price alone since such a decision can cost you more in the long run.
What information is available to us? Next to a dentist’s smiling photo on a website, there is often a stream of acronyms, initials, and terms that make us run to our dictionary apps for help. Most of us have not been trained in the art of deciphering what various dental degrees, certifications, honors, and memberships actually mean. Just knowing that the doctor went through years of arduous schooling may seem to be sufficient qualification to be up for the job.
So educate yourself. You are not shopping for a one-size-fits-all procedure that you can stick on like a Band-Aid. You are investing in your health, esthetics, and physical functionality. Look for a dentist who:
1. Pursues further training: A dentist who demonstrates a desire to continue learning and bettering his or her skill will have greater proficiency in administering your treatment. For example, board certification is a voluntary pursuit that examines a dentist according to national standards.
2. Invests in the latest technology: Dentists that invest money in purchasing the latest equipment and time in being trained in it will be able to provide you with more options for your treatment. Only a select few dentists use Suresmile digital technology, for example, which can show you an accurate simulation of how your teeth will look after treatment.
3. Has a vision: Your procedure should not be taken out of a textbook and handled on autopilot. Your ideal dentist has a smile design philosophy, and crafts a plan customized to your needs. Ask for photos and outcomes from similar cases to see the philosophy in action.
4. Connects with your vision: Your input is valuable – don’t let any dental personnel intimidate you into silence if you don’t know the right terminology or procedural information! Your dentist’s manner should encourage you to participate fully in making decisions, and as you educate yourself on how to choose the right doctor, you will be empowered to take ownership of the process and results.
Choosing a dentist will take time and effort, but the upfront investment will pay dividends in transforming your smile the right way the first time.