SHOPPING FOR A DENTAL PROFESSIONAL
If you're here, you're either thinking of having some type of dental work or oral surgery done, or are looking for after-care advice. First, let me make this perfectly clear:
I am NOT a dentist or oral surgeon.
I finally learned that it's okay to "interview" surgeons and dentists. A true professional will not be offended if you set up an appointment to come in and evaluate them. I have done that a number of times, and have even received references from professionals and have gone on to contact patients they've treated. There's nothing wrong in doing this, considering the work they are going to be doing will reflect in the smile you show others.
When you're looking for a dental professional or oral surgeon, unless it's an emergency situation, it pays to ask around. Talk to your friends, family, and co-workers. Ask people you meet in your daily life who they use, and why. Narrow your list down to about 2 or 3, then call their offices to set up a consultation appointment. With a few of the professionals I've met over the years, it was obvious to me from the first meeting that I wouldn't be comfortable with them. I call it the "Gut Instinct". If I can't sit and have a friendly and courteous conversation with a person, I don't want them performing dental or surgical procedures on me. I need to be able to communicate with the person.
In that initial meeting, address your concerns and questions. Ask for references, meet the supporting staff. I once met with a dentist who was wonderful, as was his office staff. All seemed to be going well until I spoke of the construction and fitting of my upcoming new upper denture. I found out that the construction was done at an on-site lab, which was wonderful, but the fitting process was done by another dentist who was retired. I was able to meet with this other dentist, but was dismayed at his age: he wasn't just "older", he was "old". He couldn't see very well, his hands shook, and he moved very, very slowly. While I appreciated the fact that he was still active in his chosen career, I wasn't certain of his abilities. I later found out from a friend of mine who used his services that the older dentist ruined her new partial denture when he drilled completely through the side area while trying to do an adjustment on it. The office paid for the new partial, but my friend was semi-toothless for a few days. Not good!
My advice is to go with your initial instinct. If you have good communication with your dental professional, you will understand and can communicate to him/her what your needs are.
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