We’ve spent quite a bit of time covering what a quality dental experience looks like. We’ve talked about the big three that come up: pain, cost, and convenience. We then discussed the rapport and philosophy often present in quality dental care. We will continue and spend a little more time regarding questions of trust and rapport as well as reasonable expectations.
Will they make me feel bad or ridicule my past dental history or present conditions?
Your office should be supportive especially when past oral healthcare has been severely neglected. Judging or criticizing past failures or breakdowns in care is less effective at initiating wellness. It seems more productive to applaud the courage to be in the office to take the necessary steps to improve health and make a more problem focused plan for the future. In short the experience should result in excitement or encouragement even in the face of a long term or large treatment plan.
Will this be someone I can trust to refer friends and family?
The greatest compliment you can offer your dental team is a referral of your loved ones and when you feel inclined to do so it speaks to your rapport with the office. As a team our office highlights and recognizes when our patients refer their friends and loved ones to us because it is the best evaluation of the experience we are offering.
Is this dentistry high quality work and how long will it last? What happens if it fails?
Biological systems and anything attached to them can respond poorly to properly diagnosed and well delivered treatment. These systems and treatments will certainly breakdown over time. Longevity of treatments vary according to your specific prognosis and it is completely appropriate to question and discuss longevity relative to expense, function, and esthetics. Especially when considering your alternatives.
Recognizing quality also requires a dental team that demonstrates, educates and is then transparent with the results of treatment. They may show you your new crown, bridge, or filling on x-ray, to ensure proper fit and finish. They may hand you a mirror for approval of that shade or take an intraoral picture to show you the cavity that they have diagnosed.
Regarding failures: It has been said that character is revealed through failure. How does your dentist respond when something didn’t turn out as expected? Are they defensive and dismissive or do they seem to ultimately want for the best prognosis? Do they come up with fair solutions? Are they approachable?