When choosing a new dentist, some patients don’t give it a lot of thought. After all, licensed, practicing dentists graduate from dental school with four years under their belt, so they’re pretty much the same, right? Well, no, not at all!
Who you choose as a dentist can have a pretty big impact on your health.
Some dentists are proactive in their approach, while others are reactive (aka they don’t let patients know what’s really going on & wait until things get bad).
So yea, it’s a pretty important decision that warrants a wise choice. And there’s a couple of important things that make dentists stand apart.
What to Look For: Skills, Specialties, and Attentiveness
Having a dental license means they’re allowed to practice, but it doesn’t reflect how good they are or how good the school is.
And yet, education is often the difference between having a great dental experience and a not-so-great dental experience.
You see, not all dental schools are created equal. Some schools have great teacher to faculty ratios, complex patient cases, and even have research funding available—all the things that can help dentists develop important skill sets they’ll need in the real world.
Skills can really vary between dentists, but you can have more peace of mind knowing that they came from a school that taught them well.
Choose a Dentist with Years of Experience & Advanced Training
Alright, so you’ve locked-in a dentist who’s gone to an accredited school, but dentistry is always changing.
In fact, with each passing year, we’re all learning more and more about how oral health is connected to overall health.
So it stands to reason that you want to have a dentist who stays current with the latest information and advancements.
Which means, they need a lot of continuing education.
There are bare minimum requirements set by the state, but few dentists go above and beyond that requirement.
However, the more training, experience, and education a dentist has the better they are able to handle complicated cases and help you achieve your goals.
Whether your goals are cosmetic (like having a beautiful looking smile), functionality (being able to eat, speak, breathe properly), longevity (keeping your teeth for the rest of your life), or comfort (getting out of pain or staying out of it) you want a dentist who not only knows what they’re doing but who are actually good at it too!
Some doctors continue their studies in specific specialties before beginning their private practice and are considered specialists. Specialties can vary from dental public health, endodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, orthodontics, dental facial orthopedics, or oral maxillofacial pathology/radiology/ or surgery.
Dentists who are truly passionate about serving their patients with excellence take the time (and make the investment) in advanced education.
Sure, Technology is Fun for Dentists but it’s Even Better For YOU
So now you see how advanced education, experience, and training can make a difference for you—choosing an office with the latest technology has pretty big payoffs too:
- Things are safer. Such is the case with digital x-rays—they have 98% less radiation than traditional ones.
- More comfort. Dental lasers, for example, can mean no drills & no shots.
- Time-saving. CEREC means single-visit restorations, no more coming back for two visits just for that one tooth!
- You can save money. Being preventative with your oral health means catching things early before they cost you in money, time, or pain. The SoPro Life Camera is an example of that by catching cavities early-on.
- Better quality. From teeth cleanings to crowns, technology helps the dental professionals do the best job possible. (Yea, those crazy binocular things, called loupes, magnify things better than 20/20 vision.)
You’d think that all the technology would be standard in all dental offices, but that’s actually not the case. There still are dentists who use traditional x-rays and mercury fillings. Because the truth is, all that technology comes with a big price tag and some dentists just aren’t willing to make the investment.
But wouldn’t you rather see a dentist who is willing to invest in giving you the best experience possible? We know we would!
Using Dental Insurance Companies as A Guide Has Potential Problems
Dental insurance can be an added benefit for many people, and while it might seem like you’re saving money by using dental insurance as a guiding factor it might actually cost you in the long run if you use that to select a dentist.
Have you noticed that you typically have to “hunt” for a dental office that is in-network? Well, there’s a reason for that.
When a dentist is in-network with an insurance company, that means the insurance company dictates what the dentist can charge. Unfortunately, the insurance companies haven’t kept up with inflation, not to mention they don’t care about the quality of care that you receive.
Insurance companies recruit desperate dentists willing to severely reduce their fees to acquire patients.
So how does that translate for you as a patient? Well, it usually means the dentist can’t afford to give you the care you deserve. You’ll typically find less educated doctors and teams, poorer quality materials, long wait times, non-personalized care, old technology…. basically, a mediocre patient dental experience at best.
So don’t make the mistake of using dental insurance as a guide in choosing a dentist.
How to Find a Good Dentist
One tried and true method is word of mouth. So if you can get some good recommendations from family, friends, and co-workers you trust, you’re off to a good start. Online reviews can be helpful too, but going into the office to meet the team is the best way to find out if it’s a good fit for you.
Here are all the points to consider:
- Did the dentist go to a good school?
- How much training, continuing education do they have?
- Does the office have up-to-date equipment?
- How are the patients treated? Do they recommend treatment based on insurance or your needs?
- Does the patient care process prioritize patient comfort and listening to your concerns?
- Does their approach to dentistry (example: being proactive instead of reactive) align with your goals?
Dentists are on the front lines of your overall health as well as your oral health for your teeth and gums, spotting oral cancer, diabetes or heart disease even before you or your family doctor do, thanks to thorough routine dental exams and a firm understanding of the mouth-body connection and alternative treatments.
At the end of the day, you deserve to feel cared for. So definitely pay attention to the experience.
The Dentist at Exceptional Dentistry
When it comes to our exceptional dentist, James D. Powell, DDS, he exemplifies his childhood dream of making a difference in the lives of others.
He studied biology as an undergrad as well as science and business and graduated from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.
Dr. Powell has more than 30 years of valuable experience in his field with 10,000 hours of advanced education. He is considered a local expert in physiological dentistry, alternative sleep apnea treatments and the mouth-body connection. He also engages in a monthly study club with other local health professionals to promote patient care.
Dr. Powell has worked with Dr. Bruce Crispin (a prior director of UCLA’s Cosmetic Dentistry Center) and is a Fellow of the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies.
Your Best Oral Health
At Exceptional Dentistry in Palmdale, CA, our highest mission has always been our patient’s comfort and care. By providing excellent patient care in a relaxing environment, our goal is to give you the highest quality service supported by the latest technological and educational resources!
Finding a good dentist benefits you, and now let us help you move forward with your smile goals. Give us a call today to learn more or schedule a visit online!