Choosing a Dentist in Gainesville, VA 20155
An Article By Dr. Adi ©
The views and opinions expressed in this article are based on personal opinion and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency, board or association.
Finding an ethical and competent dentist in times marked by corporate controlled dental offices (chains) and dental practices with behind the doors set “monthly production goals” is becoming risky business.
Whether you choose our office or not, consider this insider's view before you jump on that discounted New Patient Cleaning & the Free Whitening Kit coupon you just got in the mail. The few dollars you will save are likely to cost you in the long run.
Here are a few signs to pay attention to when choosing your dentist.
Those of you who own a business know that advertisement can be very costly. Given the fact that dentistry’s overhead is an astonishing 70% to 80% of what a patient pays, no doctor would like to spend additional thousands of dollars on postcards, full-page newspaper ads and Google AdWords unless his/her practice is really hurting for new patients. And when they do, guess who is going to end up being passed that additional premium? The golden rule is: the bigger the ad, the bigger the trouble!
A competent reputable practitioner whose well respected by his patients needs little to No advertisement. The patients' word of mouth is usually all what is needed to keep the doctor's schedule very busy. Our office is truly the living proof of this statement.
Numerous Negative Online Reviews
As the saying goes, where there's smoke there's fire.
Historically, patient opinions about the quality of their healthcare didn’t matter too much. Many doctors got patients through insurance affiliations. Dentists who failed to keep patients happy didn’t always suffer the professional consequences. Now, because of the information technology, internet & social media boom, patients can speak publicly about their experiences and influence other prospective patients, they have new-found leverage over doctors. This leverage proved so strong, one very well-advertised practice in our area had to literally change the name on the door in an attempt to salvage its reputation, and many of you are probably familiar with that name.
One bad review does not necessarily condemn the practice and Individual reviews may not be credible, but the wisdom of the crowd is credible.
Before you make that first appointment, do your homework and learn about your prospective dentist; look him/her up on independent sites like Yelp, RateMDs & healthgrades. Red flags to look for are complains about unethical over-treatment & clinical incompetency.
Dentists Lacking an Accredited DDS, DMD or Specialty Degree
It is not April fool’s! Out of fifty states & one district, only two states will grant a dental license to a foreign trained dentist who was unable to gain admission and complete the requirements for an accredited DDS or DMD degree; nor was he/she able to complete a recognized accredited dental specialty program and hold a title like an Orthodontist, Periodontist, Pedodontist, Endodontist or Oral surgeon. And yes you happen to live in one of them, Virginia.
Few years ago, Virginia Dental Board has loosened up the requirements to get a dental license allowing foreign trained candidates who only completed a one or two year “residency program” to apply and attain a Virginia dental license. That has allowed an influx of foriegn dentists to flood the state & that is probably why there is a dental office under every rock in Northern Virginia!
We are not here to judge, but there has to be a rationale why 49 other states would only consider candidates who went through the grueling selection process and were able to successfully complete the demanding requirements of accredited dental schools or accredited specialty programs. Compare that to the usually relaxed admission criteria and laid-back requirements to complete a "no-degree" dental residency program.
An easy way to spot these practitioners is the bio on their websites, it would lack any mention of a US dental school DDS or DMD degree and will commonly mention that the practitioner graduated from an overseas dental school & completed a one or two year GPR “General Practice Residency" program or AEGD “Advanced Education in General Dentistry” program.
Dentists Who Do Not Practice Their Specialty
A specialist practicing general dentistry OR a general dentist practicing specialty.
The first scenario boggles the mind, aren’t you competent enough to limit your practice to your specialty after all the years of additional training, time and money spent to earn your specialty degree?
The second scenario has become a trend. General dentists in this competitive market are stepping into specialty territories and are frequently lacking the adequate training to perform well at, to simply generate more income.
A common example is Invisalign & braces, If you knew how little dental schools teach their undergrad students about orthodontics, you would think twice before having that orthodontic treatment done by a general dentist. Orthodontists go through three more years of training and it is one of the most selective specialties for a reason! You would be surprised how often dental practices would utilize a general dentist to do their ortho treatment, do yourself a favor, ask, are you an Orthodontist doc?
Another example is dental implants, where general dentists attend a "weekend course" and start placing implants on their patients Monday morning! Again there is a reason why Periodontists (gum surgeons) and Oral surgeons receive additional years of surgical training to become competent at placing implants and avoiding possible serious complications.
We take pride in having an implant Gum Surgeon specialist & an Orthodontist specialist on staff working in harmony and under the same roof with your skilled general dentists.
Dentists Who Do Not Utilize Modern Technology
Dentistry has progressed by leaps and bounds over the past twenty years. If your dentist’s office looks like it is stuck in the seventies and still uses outdated equipment like analog x-ray machines and film processors or the good old "paper charts", then maybe it's time to look for someone more in tune with modern dentistry.
Magnification is on top of the list, if your dentist is not utilizing “loupes” yet in his/her everyday practice and still relies on unaided vision; your dental work might leave a lot to be desired.
And a dentist who still considers a silver filling to be a superior option to the well-performed modern bonded tooth-colored restoration is probably hung up in the Amalgam (silver-mercury fillings) era. Maybe the problem is not in the white fillings but the lack of skill or know-how to perform the procedure competently by that practitioner.