Want to find a dentist you can trust? Look for these key qualities when shopping for a dental care provider
We know how it is. Searching for a good trustworthy dentist can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re seeking care for your loved ones too.
But we promise:
There are plenty of excellent dentists out there!
Ones that will meet you where you are, listen to your concerns, and provide the expert care you need with integrity and compassion.
You just have to know how to spot them.
To help you on your quest for top-notch dental care, we’ll be breaking down 7 major qualities to look for in a dentist, as well as some red flags to watch for along the way.
1. Your Comfort Comes First
No matter your comfort level with visiting the dentist, your provider should be ready and willing to accommodate you.
And if for whatever reason they can’t, they should have no problem referring you to someone who can.
Even if you need nitrous oxide sedation to feel relaxed enough for a routine dental exam, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if your current practice doesn’t offer that service, getting a referral to a dentist who can provide that level of comfort should be a piece of cake.
Many people are afraid of seeking dental care because they’ve had negative experiences in the past, or they’re worried that a certain treatment might hurt.
But the truth is – with modern technology and sedation methods – most dental treatments should be painless, with only a select few being minimally uncomfortable.
Still, your dentist should never make you feel bad or guilty for requesting comforting accommodations.
Dentistry is about helping people. It’s about improving their overall health, self-image, and confidence through proper dental care. There’s no room for shame or guilt in this business.
Dentists should do everything in their power to make each visit as calm and manageable for you as possible.
2. Healthy, Open Communication
The relationship between dentist and patient is incredibly important, and healthy, open communication is key.
When you share your dental health concerns and budgetary limitations with your provider, they should listen.
By listen, we mean they should take that information into account every time they make a suggestion that affects your smile and dental health.
For example, say you need an urgent treatment that you can’t pay for in full at the moment.
To help you get the care you need, your dentist should work with you to find the most affordable and timely option, like low-interest medical financing, other alternative methods of payment, or a different (and more cost-effective) procedure.
Also, they should be asking you questions like, “What do YOU want for your smile,” or “What are YOUR dental health goals?”
Asking you about your wants and needs allows them to tailor their services to best care for your smile.
Dentistry is a partnership between doctor and patient, and your care should feel that way.
Your provider should create an environment where you feel comfortable and safe talking about your dental concerns and desires.
If they make you feel uncomfortable or guilty for expressing your needs, or they aren’t interested in hearing about them, that’s a red flag.
This quality boils down to finding a dentist that won’t prescribe treatments you don’t need or can’t afford.
But of all the items on this list, it’s probably the most difficult for patients to pick up on.
With what the average person knows about dentistry, how can we make sure we’re getting the care we need?
Here are some red flags to look out for that can reveal a provider’s true intentions:
- If they don’t ask what your dental health concerns and goals are
- If they’re not comfortable with you seeking a second opinion
- If they deny you services that will make you more comfortable during treatment
- If they’re pushy about locking you into a treatment plan
- If they insist on giving you a treatment you can’t afford
- If they don’t go through treatment options with you
- If they make you feel bad or guilty for your current dental health
- If they sound like they’re reading a script
It’s worth mentioning that it often helps to trust your instincts in these situations.
But knowing these red flags can sharpen your radar and help you find the right provider for you. A trustworthy dentist, the well-intentioned dentist will be honest, open, and make you feel secure.
4. Accepting of All Smiles
A good trustworthy dentist never judges or shames anyone whose oral health is less than ideal.
No matter what state your mouth and teeth are in, and regardless of your previous access to dental care, your dentist should welcome you with empathy and open arms.
As we stated above, if instead of friendly professional advice you get shaming or guilt-tripping, that’s a big red flag.
A dentist’s job is to foster healthy smiles and provide a safe place for everyone that sits in their chair, not to judge people for their dental care habits.
5. Provides the Care You Need, When You Need It
When looking for the right dentist, you want one that’ll be there when you need them.
If you have a dental emergency on Friday night, you don’t want to wait until Monday to be seen. The sooner you can get care, the better.
Partnering with a dentist that provides urgent care on weekends can ensure your smile is protected in the event of an emergency.
It’s also a huge plus if they accept walk-in appointments. If your tooth filling cracks during a meal or your child chips a tooth, you can head straight to the dentist instead of worrying about making arrangements.
That way, you can save time and reduce the risk of any complications, protecting you and your loved ones’ smiles.
6. Makes Booking an Appointment Easy
Scheduling appointments online or over the phone should be a walk in the park.
The office team should be friendly, accommodating, and willing to work around your schedule as best as possible.
If you have any questions about home dental care, recovery from a recent treatment, or other topics related to dentistry, reaching out for advice shouldn’t be an issue.
If communicating or setting up appointments with a dental office is a constant hassle, it might be best to move on.
7. Treats You Like Family
The best dentists are the ones that make you feel at home.
They give you the space to share your concerns freely and without judgment.
They ask you about your life, talk to you like a friend, and care for you like family.
As humans, we naturally pick up on these genuine connections. But unfortunately, not all dentists have the desire to connect with their patients in this way.
Our best piece of advice? Look for one who does.
Tackling the Lack of Trust in Dentistry, One Smile at a Time
If you’re looking for a trustworthy dentist in San Diego, Dental Express is committed to inspiring a positive outlook on dentistry.
Our patients are our family, and when you visit us, your comfort is our top priority. We offer various sedation options for all of our services, including nitrous oxide sedation.
Integrity is one of our core values, and we make every decision based on your dental care needs, goals, and budget.
No matter if it’s been six months or six years since your last dentist visit, you’ll receive the same professional, compassionate care.
If you or a loved one has a dental emergency, we offer urgent care services six days a week and always accept walk-ins and same-day appointments.
If you’d like to find out how easy and hassle-free it is to book an appointment, you can contact us by phone or schedule online at any of our six locations.
Unfortunately, finding a trustworthy dentist can be difficult. But if you’re in San Diego, we’ve got you covered.