Tips for Choosing A Dentist
Is the Dentist Committed to Your Comfort?
For many individuals, a visit to the dentist conjurs fear and bad memories about painful dental experiences from childhood. The good news is that dental technologies and the ability to provide comfortable care have improved dramatically over the past 10-20 years, and especially within the past 5-10 years throughout the industry. Even better news is that some dentists in Madison, including First Choice Dental, are super committed to comfort-consciousTM care, including use of and expertise with the latest advanced technologies and techniques to make your visit an easy one. This is an investment you won't find everywhere. But to us, it's the only way to do dentistry. When choosing a dentist in Madison, ask what they do to make your visit as comfortable as possible. And then compare notes with what you hear from other dentists.
Is the Dentist Committed to Early Detection and Prevention? In other words, lifetime treatment planning?
We'll admit this approach isn't always popular with all patients, especially if we're sharing information that a patient doesn't want to hear, or has trouble believing because they aren't yet feeling pain. Hearing that you have a cavity or two is especially astonishing if this is the first time you've heard that, mainly because you'd never before been cared for by a dentist who uses the latest early detection technology and techniques. Patient education is a key part of the work we do here. We want everyone to be cared for early on and to help you prevent problems, because it's so much healthier for you and less expensive and less invasive for you than treatment once your health issue has worsened. Treatment of dental health issues early on is critical in delivering the long-term health of your smile and your body. When shopping for a Madison dentist, ask for specific evidence of commitment to early detection and prevention of dental health issues, including periodontal health which research shows is critical for overall health.
At First Choice Dental, we approach every patient relationship as a lifelong investment in that patient's health. We call this lifetime treatment planning. It involves attending to acute dental health needs, as well as planning for treatment that we can tell may need attention down the road. Our patients find that this helps them see their smile the way we do, as an essential investment in their overall health.
Why Choose an ADA Member Dentist?
The ADA helps members keep current with the latest information affecting dentistry to provide the best-possible patient care. Seven out of ten dentists are members of the ADA. Representing the overwhelming majority of dentists, the ADA can be an effective advocate for patients and the profession. This includes the ability to deal with the insurance industry and the government on issues that affect patients.
What should I look for when choosing a dentist?
You may wish to consider several dentists before making your decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine if this is the right dentist for you. Consider the following:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient for you?
- Is the office easy to get to from your home or job?
- Does the office appear to be clean, neat and orderly?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques that will help you prevent dental health problems? Is dental health instruction provided?
- Are special arrangements made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.) Is information provided about fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled?
- Is your dentist a member of the ADA? All ADA member dentists voluntarily agree to abide by the high ethical standards reflected in the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct as a condition of their membership.
- You and your dentist are partners in maintaining your oral health. Take time to ask questions and take notes if that will help you remember your dentist's advice.
Is there any difference between a DDS and a DMD?
The DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are the same degrees. The difference is a matter of semantics. The majority of dental schools award the DDS degree; however, some award a DMD degree. The education and degrees are the same.
Your Relationship with Your Dentist
What does this treatment recommendation mean?
If at any point, there's any part of your recommended dental health treatment plan that you don't understand, it is your right to ask for more information and it is your Madison dentist's responsibility to provide it for you. You should look for a dentist who patiently explains the details of your treatment plan and will readily provide answers to your questions.
Are other dental treatment options available?
You may want to ask your dentist the following:
- How do the options differ in cost?
- Which solution will last the longest?
- Do all the options solve the problem?
- Among the dentist's recommendations, which treatments are absolutely necessary? Which are elective? Which are cosmetic? Which procedures are urgently needed, and which ones are less urgent?
Your dentist should be able to prioritize a treatment schedule to help you distinguish problems needing immediate attention from those that are less urgent. Often, treatment can be phased in over time. Be sure you understand the consequences of delaying treatment. You'll also want to ask for detailed information about:
- How much will this cost, and when and how are you expected to pay?
- Does the dentist participate in your health plan? What method of payment does he or she expect? And when is payment due?
Make sure you understand the fees, method and schedule of payment before you accept recommended treatment.