Thankfully, the days of untrained dentistry are long gone. No longer do you have to visit a barber or a horse doctor to have a tooth pulled. Today, any dentist you encounter will almost certainly have a valid dental degree along with the training and education to perform dental treatments. This is particularly true in Canada where there are stringent regulations and licensing requirements.
But what qualities should you look for in a dentist? You probably have a choice of dental care providers, so you need to choose one that is right for you, your family, and your needs.
Any dental care professional will have knowledge of oral anatomy, pathologies, and treatments, but not every dentist offers every service. You will want to pick a dentist that can provide the services you and your family need. Yes, you can visit different specialists when issues arise, but isn’t it more convenient and reassuring to have all your dental care in a single location?
Facets to consider include orthodontics (aligners and braces), oral surgery (like wisdom teeth extraction), dental implants, dentures, and periodontal (gum) care. You are likely to need one or more of these services at some point. Ask any potential dentist if they provide these treatments. Of course, there are rarer procedures you may require at some point, but your dentist can make a referral to an outside specialist in these cases.
Everyone has a different personality, but dentists are professionals. They should always treat you with politeness and courtesy. The same goes for their staff. You are justified in expecting a professional attitude at all times.
Disagreements may certainly arise, but those cases do not justify rudeness. Just remember that your dentist is obligated to be frank with you about your dental health. They may not tell you what you want to hear, but they should always do so in a courteous manner.
A dental practice can be a busy place, but you should never feel rushed. A good dentist takes the time to perform procedures properly and also makes time for their patients’ questions. You should be comfortable asking your dentist for advice or clarification at any point during your visit.
Patience is especially important for dentists who see children. Pediatric patients are likely to require some extra attention and may need additional time to overcome dental anxiety. Good dentists understand this and take the time to put their littlest patients at ease.