How To Choose a Great Dentist
March 10, 2015
Yes, dentists, like doctors and lawyers and anyone else working in the public arena, can be corrupt or unscrupulous. The stories about dangerous dentists can be concerning and do nothing to help people overcome their fear of the dentist. So what should you look for in a dentist? How do you avoid dangerous dentists and find a professional that you feel comfortable with?
At Honce Dental Centre, our Kelowna dental practice is a family clinic. Brothers and father work alongside each other, with help from a team of dedicated professionals, some of whom have been with us for decades. We love what we do and we love helping people, so it goes without saying that we believe that all dentists should put their patients first.
The team at Honce wants to ensure that you find a great dentist, whether it’s in Kelowna or on the other side of the country. Here are some things that you should be on the lookout for when you search for a dentist.
Education and Accreditation
Becoming a dentist requires a lot of hard work and years of education. Your dentist should be a licensed practitioner with a doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S.) or a doctor of dental medicine (D.M.D.) degree. Getting these degrees and doctorates requires a minimum of 3-4 years of college, though most students will obtain a full bachelor’s degree. From there, a student needs an additional 4 years of dentistry school.
A dentist and their staff should be able to tell you where the dentist graduated from and be able to show you proof of licence.
Continuing education is also a strong indicator of a great dentist. Dentistry, believe it or not, is advancing at an incredibly fast rate! Those dentists who consistently seek to learn the new technologies, methods, and treatments are many times able to maximize treatment outcomes. It’s also a pretty good sign of a dentist who is passionate about their career and patients. Dr. Mark Honce D.D.S. is an elected member of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honor Dental Society, and a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology.
In British Columbia, you can visit the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia website, where you can search all licensed dentists in Kelowna and BC. If you are looking for a dentist that is accepting new patients, you can visit BCDental.org and find a dentist in Kelowna that meets your needs.
Cleanliness and Hygiene
Contaminated dental tools can transfer diseases and viruses like HIV. It is absolutely imperative that you feel confident in the cleanliness of your chosen dental clinic and their staff. Feel free to ask them about their sterilization methods and what precautions they take to ensure the health and safety of their patients.
Dental emergencies will happen to most of us at some point in our lives. Having a dentist that is competent in handling common dental emergencies that include procedures such as surgical extractions, root canal diagnosis and treatment, and competency in soft tissue suturing are just some areas of expertise that might make a defining factor in choosing your dentist!
Your dental exam at a new office should be a thorough appointment with multiple scans, a cleaning with a certified hygienist, and several minutes with the dentist himself. They should be inspecting your teeth, gums, tongue, inner cheeks.
At Honce Dentistry, we utilize several sophisticated technologies to assist in our examinations. From Kodak 2D digital x-rays to 3D Cone Beam technology (similar to a medical “CAT” scan) clear and precise images are obtained. This technology means that we can pinpoint underlying issues that might not have been discovered until it was too late. When you’re working with your hygienist and dentist, you should feel comfortable asking to see your scans. In turn, they should be happy to point out the trouble spots and compare them to a healthy sample so that you can understand what is going on.
Some dentists do a lot of advertising, offer discounts and specials, and rely on flashy marketing campaigns to get people through the door. It is important that you not be influenced by a great deal or flamboyant ad claims. Think critically about the marketing that you are seeing and whether you are choosing a dentist because they are great and you like them, or because you bought into the hype. After all, this is your oral health, not a Boxing Day shoe sale!
The cost of your dental work and exams will vary from clinic to clinic. In many ways, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” rings very true. That said, the most expensive clinic isn’t necessarily the best and if you are concerned about the cost of a procedure, don’t hesitate to ask for more information as to where the costs stem from. Understanding that a piece of diagnostic equipment may have cost tens of thousands of dollars (or more!) can help put things into perspective. At the same time, you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about polite questions either.
You will also want to enquire as to whether or not the dentist accepts insurance and which companies they work with. Many dental clinics (like ours!) will also bill your insurance company directly so that you don’t have to worry about the paperwork or pay up front.
The most important factor in selecting a great dentist is often times your gut. Do you feel comfortable in the clinic? Does the dentist put you at ease? Do they have a good bedside manner? When you genuinely like your dentist, going for a checkup or procedure won’t be as daunting. If you don’t particularly like your dentist, you will be less inclined to visit, which could lead to all kinds of oral health problems down the road.
If you have any questions about our dentists, hygienists, or our Kelowna dental clinic, give us a call at 250-765-4454 and we will be happy to answer them!