Word of Mouth
Choosing a Dentist and How to be a Good Patient
Modified from “How to Save Your Teeth and Your Money” – A consumer’s guide to better less costly Dental Care – Melvin Denholtz
Published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Copany London, Toronto, Melbourne
ISBN 0-442-22080 -4 cloth -2 paper
Choosing a Dentist
Give your dentist a cross if he/she does not:
(if score 6 or more crosses, consider changing dentists)
• Run an efficient office with pleasant long serving staff
• Drape you with a lead apron when taking an X-ray
• Dentist and nurse wear gloves, mask and protective glasses
• You are required to wear protective eye glasses
• Stress the importance of diet flossing and fluoride.
• Insist on radiographs ever 2 or 3 years
• Constantly check your bite
• Constantly refer to your x-rays
• Check for food packing or overhanging fillings that deter flossing and suggest replacement where food packing or overhanging fillings.
• Suggest the interceptive removal of impacted wisdom teeth
• Discuss treatment choices, their costs and the advantages and any downside.
• Ask you about your dental and medical history plus your history of accidents – sporting and motor vehicle.
• Speak about you saving your teeth rather than having dentures.
• Suggest you have missing teeth replaced with implants in preference to bridges.
• See dentures as an undesirable destination
• Have the home phone number listed in White Pages.
• Your dentist charges unusually high or unusually low fees (1/2 point)
• Your dentist is a member of the ADA or in that country where they practice.
• Your dentist does not use a gimmick (financial or dental) to attract patients.
• Your dentist is opposed to advertising because it is not in the patients’ interests, albeit beneficial to dentists.
How to be a good dental patient
• Keep your appointments or give one working day notice for cancellations.
• Pay your account on time or upon commencement of major treatment.
• If you cannot keep your appointment, send a needy friend.
• Follow the advice offered. Don’t argue.
• Don’t refuse radiographs.
• Floss your teeth before your appointment.
• Avoid garlic or alcohol before the appointment.
• Never arrive late.
• Never book an event immediately after an appointment.
• Don’t arrive with more than 2 other humans at a time.
• Don’t bag the last dentist.
• Don’t ask for a falsified account.
• Don’t smother the face in lipstick, perfume or aftershave or make-up.
• Participate in the free (expensive) recall program
• Have major dentistry in the mornings not at weary day’s end
• Offer thanks and gratitude for the effort of the dentist and his staff
• Reverse the 3/11 rule. ( If the dentist satisfies a patient, the patient will tell 3 people, but if the patient is not cared for, they will tell 11 people.
• Turn off the mobile phone before hopping in the chair.
• Don’t wear your very best clothes.
• Always have a normal meal prior to your appointment.
• Place quality, honesty and integrity of the dentist before cost.
• Always take the best option and if you cannot afford it now, ask for the best holding pattern until you can afford it. Remember cheap dentistry is the most expensive!
• Be prepared to borrow money to fund urgent requirements rather than say “just pull it out, mate”
• If the dentist is more concerned about your teeth than you are, reconsider your own attitude and priorities.