Note how promptly you are greeted and how long you’re asked to wait before being treated. While it’s not realistic to expect the practice to always be right on schedule, it is reasonable to expect to be told within a few minutes of your arrival whether there will be a delay.
During your visit, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the dental office present a professional atmosphere and a willingness to address your concerns?
- Is your medical history thoroughly reviewed prior to treatment or is it an afterthought? Health problems, such as high blood pressure, should be monitored at every dental appointment.
- When dental work is performed, are staff members wearing masks, gloves and appropriate eyewear?
- Are gloves disposed of between patients?
- Are all dental instruments sterilized / disposed? Are all questions regarding sterilization answered to your satisfaction?
- Is ample time given to a thorough teeth cleaning? When you have your teeth cleaned, are you given hygiene instructions or is there discussion of the areas of your mouth where more attention is required?
- Is a treatment plan presented to you? Have questions about treatment been adequately explained, doubts cleared as well as the risks, alternatives, cost and benefits?
- When and how are you expected to pay? Make sure you understand the fees, method and schedule of payment before you agree to any treatment.
- What types of dental procedures can the dentist perform? Are dental specialists, like orthodontists and oral surgeons, available at the dentist’s office? If not, will the dentist refer out to the appropriate dental specialists?
- Are special arrangements made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.
- What are their office hours and is the appointment schedule convenient for you?
It’s important to find a dentist who takes time to answer questions and responds to your needs.