Red Flags to Watch for at the Dentist’s Office

Many people find going to the dentist to be a nerve-wracking experience, even if they have been visiting the same practice year after year. After all, when you visit the dentist, you are entrusting them with both your smile and your dental health. If something were to go wrong and your dentist doesn’t know how to respond, or if you receive care that is simply sub-standard, it could have disastrous and potentially permanent consequences.

When finding a dentist, it is imperative that you do your research, particularly if you require a specialist service such as orthodontics or dental implants. However, with so many qualified dentists now offering their services, how can you be certain that the one you choose will deliver the quality of care that you deserve? Recommendations from friends and colleagues are always useful, and you may be able to find patient reviews online.

While there are plenty of things that may indicate that someone is a great dentist, there are also many warning signs that might suggest that they aren’t. Here are some of the red flags that you should watch out for when considering a new dentist.

Failure to request your records

Any good dentist will want to know your dental history before your first appointment. Although you can provide a brief verbal overview of your past treatments, they need more specific details that can only be obtained by looking at a professional record. This provides them with a baseline for your new records and helps them to track any changes. If your new dentist is happy to press on without these, it is time to be concerned.

Old technology

Dental technology has come on leaps and bounds during the last few decades and continues to evolve. Newer tools and technology provide an improved service to patients, offering greater accuracy, better precision and increased safety. For example, digital x-rays are much more exact that old-fashioned radiographs. Any dentist who is offering old technology probably does not have your best interests at heart.

Insisting on regular x-rays

Speaking of x-rays, while they are a standard part of your care, you only really need a set taken every two years. If you have had them within the last 24 months at your old dentist’s office, they should be on your record. Some dentists may try and claim that they cannot treat you without up to date x-rays at each check-up appointment. While this isn’t true, they may still refuse to treat you until you agree. Don’t – go elsewhere instead.

It seems less than pristine

A dentist’s office is much like a hospital facility and should really adhere to similar levels of cleanliness. Sterility is essential if you are going to avoid becoming unwell, so keep a close eye on how they operate. Does the dentist put on clean gloves to examine your mouth? Are the tools in sealed bags ready to be used? If there is any doubt as to the cleanliness of their tools or facilities, then you could be putting your health at risk.

They try to upsell you products and procedures

A great dentist is concerned about ensuring you have the best possible dental health, not trying to get you to sign up to a range of products and procedures that you don’t want or need. If you feel like you are being pushed to commit to ‘extras’ then they are probably more interested in meeting their sales targets than meeting your expectations.

Poor bedside manner

It doesn’t matter if your dentist has all the qualifications in the world if they make you feel uneasy. Bedside manner is just as important in dentistry as it is in regular medical practice, and a great dentist will do everything in their power to help you feel calm, relaxed and confidence in their ability to deliver the care that you deserve. If your chosen dentist doesn’t take the time to address your concerns, if their attitude is brusque or you simply don’t feel like you can trust them, then it is certainly time to consider someone new.

Lack of personalization

Every patient is completely different, and a great dentist will ensure that they treat their clients as individuals and try to build a personal relationship with them. This means creating personalized treatment plans based on choices you have made together, respecting your point of view and striving to deliver a positive and unique experience every time you walk through the door.