This article by Dr. Rick Farnsworth was originally published in the Daily Courier.
Question: In general, my teeth seem fine so I only go to the dentist when I have a problem but I have concerns about my long-term oral health. How should I get started?
Answer: Most people want to do right by themselves especially when it comes to their health. Wanting to do right and actualizing that goal is often met with obstacles. Two of the biggest mind limiting factors preventing people from accomplishing their oral health goals, especially if you’ve been out of the regular oral health care game for a while, are (1) uncertainty of where to start and the (2) fear of what to expect. If you find yourself in this situation, I hope the following steps will help you to once again take charge of your oral health.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Similar to other fields of business, dental practices vary widely in their business, treatment, and financial practices, etc. A few considerations in evaluating whether you and a dental practice are a good fit include:
• Is the practice philosophy focused on preventive or more costly reactive care?
• Does the office look clean and is sterility maintained?
• Is quality, ongoing education of support staff provided?
• Do you feel confident in the doctor’s skill level and ongoing continuing education?
• Are advanced technologies available to provide optimal outcomes and patient comfort such as CT Scans, periodontal laser therapy?
• Relationships with specialists for procedures requiring a referral?
• Scheduling practices work for your needs?
• Relationships with quality labs?
• Reviews reflect a high quality of care provided by dentists and staff?
LOOK FOR RAVING FANS – Here’s some of our reviews!
When it comes to selecting a care provider, following the trends of general advertising can be intimidating and at times unclear. Traditionally, word-of-mouth advertising from friends and family members has been and still is a reliable way to find a reputable provider to build a relationship with. Today, the internet has a wealth of resources to inform consumers about the personal experiences other patients have at provider offices.
If you have a care provider in mind, the first place to check is on a provider’s website where reviews are easily accessible. Second, testimonial reviews are listed on search engines, such as Google. Third, provider review sites such as Healthgrades, have made reviews accessible and of course don’t forget social media platforms, such as Facebook, wield great power in shaping the way dental practices are communicating and reaching out to the public. The dental industry recognizes this positive influence on providers to strive for on-going excellence in care, as well as, the power of social media as a tool to reach a broader spectrum of potential new patrons who know what to expect in quality of care at a specific practice.
All of these methods of evaluating dental care providers from individuals who know providers and staff and the quality of care provided over time allow one to get to know a care provider on a general level, his/her care philosophy, level of patient satisfaction, financial practices, etc. … prior to contacting a provider’s office. Online reviews can also be a useful tool to you as a consumer to weed out practices that may not fit your interests.
We live in a day and age where information is abundant — or over-abundant depending on your perspective! Dentists have recognized these online tools as a powerful resource for not only educating each other, but for tools for patients as well. They allow patients to become informed and develop good questions to ask their dentist about their concerns and treatment options during a scheduled visit.
The Internet can be a powerful resource for helping individuals who want to understand treatment options and materials currently available for treatment in dental practices today. It is empowering for patients to be educated on what we do so they can ask questions, understand and appreciate the expertise in necessary complex dental services. Other ways to educate yourself are through local dental educational seminars, online informational sites and videos. This helps a person not only understand a diagnosis but also treatment alternatives to a procedure.
COLLABORATE WITH YOUR PROVIDER
Like any relationship, finding the right relationship to suit your oral health needs with a dentist or dental practice can appear to be a daunting and a somewhat intimidating endeavor. Feel confident knowing that information is on your side. Feel empowered to communicate your desires with your dental care providers. Be open-minded to utilize the knowledge, experience and expertise that your dental care providers can offer you. With time, a relationship of communication and trust will be established paving the way towards a collaborative patient-provider relationship that suits your needs and interests.
Now that you know where to start on your journey toward improved long-term dental health, if you have any additional questions for Dr. Farnsworth, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to contact the office with an oral health question, call Pro Solutions Dental Group Family, Implant & Reconstructive Dentistry – Offices of Jason C. Campbell at 928-776-1208 or go to www.PrescottDentist.com.