It’s easy to find a dentist in Colorado. There’s no shortage of capable providers. But what separates a good dentist from a great one? How can you discover the dental provider who will be the right choice to care for your family over the long term?
There are many questions you should ask yourself when searching for your family’s provider, and the answers to those questions should lead you to a great dentist.
The best dentists possess a set of shared qualities that you can learn to look for. Today, let’s take a look at the five signs that will point you to the dentist who will go above and beyond to protect your family’s beautiful smiles.
1. The dentist and office staff place a high value on your comfort.
From making sure that the office and clinical environment set you at ease, to fostering trust while you’re in the chair, to taking every medically prudent step to make your procedure as painless as possible, a great dentist is very concerned with your family’s comfort.
Such a provider will be professional, courteous and gently encouraging when discussing the necessary steps in your oral health care, and will demand the same from the hygienists, techs and support staffers employed by the practice.
2. The dentist asks you questions and listens to your answers.
A great dentist asks you how you are feeling. Are you feeling any pain? Which course of treatment do you prefer? I understand your concern; how would you feel if we tried this approach?
He or she will also make you feel comfortable enough to speak up and to ask questions of your own.
The dentist will take time to listen to your questions and thoroughly explain anything you don’t understand about your treatment. He or she will make sure that you understand your after-visit instructions. Plus, a great dentist will be available to answer any follow-up questions that arise after you return home.
3. The dentist is a member in good standing of the American Dental Association and abides by its guidelines.
When, in the 1991 holiday classic Home Alone, the 8-year-old character Kevin McAllister asked a pharmacy clerk if the toothbrush he was about to buy had been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA), it was done to elicit a laugh. But, in real life, ADA endorsement is serious business.
Formed in 1859 by 26 dentists in Niagara Falls, New York, the ADA is the world’s oldest and largest professional dental association. The ADA’s Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct (also known simply as “the ADA Code”) were adopted in 1866 and established, for the first time, a binding promise that member dentists would put your health and well-being first.
Prior to establishment of the ADA and its Code, many dentists were poorly trained and did not practice evidence-based dentistry. Some dentists placed profits over what was best for their patients.
For membership in the ADA, providers must agree to follow the ADA Code at all times. That means they agree to abide not only by the Code’s legal provisions, but by its guidance on ethical behavior, which often goes beyond a provider’s responsibilities under the law.
An ADA dentist in good standing is one who believes strongly that, when providing care for you and your loved ones, he or she must first do no harm, be scrupulously honest in all dealings and always recognize your right to participate in making decisions about your oral health.
4. Great dentists have convenient locations, accommodating office hours and emergency appointments.
If your work schedule is so busy that you can’t make weekday appointments, you should be able to schedule an evening or weekend appointment — whatever fits your preference.
For large practices, you should be able to be seen in any office within the group that is conveniently located near where you will be at a given time. You shouldn’t have to drive all the way into Denver for an appointment if you’re in, say, Westminster or Aurora.
Great dentists know that broken teeth, lost crowns and dental infections don’t only crop up 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. You should be able to be seen promptly, without hassle, when an emergency occurs.
5. A great dentist will come highly recommended by his or her patients and offer a comprehensive range of services.
If a lot of people you know sing the praises of a particular provider, there’s generally a good reason for it. Good patient recommendations are the foundation of any excellent dentistry practice, because they’re based on a strong record of providing quality, cost-effective, comfortable care.
Moreover, a great dentist will be able to handle a variety of needs for your family — general dentistry, pediatric dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. And, if the practice doesn’t also provide oral surgery or orthodontics, the dentist should be able to give you a referral to an equally well-regarded, trusted orthodontist or oral surgeon.
It’s easy to find a dentist in Colorado. But let’s find you a great dentist.
You can search for a family dentist here, using the ADA’s online Find-a-Dentist tool. You could also ask your friends, relatives, family doctor or join our Mountain View family.
Once you have those recommendations, make sure you do some homework before you schedule your first appointment. Use the five signs listed above to lead you to a great dentist who can care for your family’s oral health far into the future.