After the big 3 questions of Cost, Schedule, and Comfort here is the single most important determinant to the quality of your care:
Does my dentist and team have my very best interests at heart and can I trust them?
Here are some ways to help you determine whether your team does indeed have your interests at heart:
You should be comfortable asking questions and sharing your concerns with the dental team: You should feel comfortable discussing treatment and your office should encourage second opinions or even alternative offices or specialists when you are uneasy with treatment styles or plans or they do not possess the clinical skills to manage your case. You should never feel pressured/”sold” into treatment. “No treatment” is always an option even if it just gives you time to think and research the problems and solutions.
You should have a comprehensive treatment plan with a preventative long-term approach vs immediate “cut rate” treatment without a plan: A quality comprehensive exam should be performed where treatment options, risks and complications are discussed and you as the patient are encouraged to participate in the treatment planning. You should receive education and feedback regarding your hygiene and dental products. Quality diagnosis and planning are crucial to cost effective treatment.
If it seems too good to be true….: When we are desperate we want to believe that half price is just as good – or that it is at least good enough. We want to think that since we see them on television or hear them on the radio that they must be okay. We want to think that a convenient inexpensive quick cleaning and exam equate to wellness. We convince ourselves to disregard all the red flags. In my experience with dental patients that come from these experiences they often say, “I knew something wasn’t right ….” Listen to your instincts and when in doubt seek another opinion or possibly two and know that you have the right to ask questions and discuss your options.
At the heart of all quality health care is a genuine concern for the well-being of the patient. If you feel as though anything other than your well-being is paramount then it might be wise to begin asking some questions and possibly seek other opinions.
To Be Continued…..