Mothers know the importance of oral hygiene and finding a reputable, conscientious doctor or dentist can sometimes be a difficult task. My youngest son had inherited my under bite however the pediatric dentist never noticed the improper positioning until the second teeth where completely grown in. This was very upsetting to me as I assumed that having regular visits and x-rays this would have been evident to the dentist sooner.
That was cause enough for me to proceed to find a new dentist. In those days, other than word of mouth, cold calling, and medical screening organizations were just about the only way gather information. After a hefty amount of manual research, I thought I found the perfect dentist. Let me tell you, the general family dentist I chose did a wonderful service in referring me to an affordable, competent orthodontist. This orthodontist did a fabulous job on my son’s bite and teeth. The problem was corrected within a year and no braces where required.
Being so satisfied with the orthodontist, we continued with the referring general dentist. That is until his bedside manner became more than inadequate. Upon our last visit, as the dentist was filling a tooth, a tear ran down my son’s face, and he had the look of pain in his eyes. My son was one of those little tough guys who always tried to conceal his pain. Seeing a tear roll down his face and that look in his eyes alarmed me. Upon questioning the dentist about the boys’ pain level, he got very short with me saying if I interrupted again – (this was the first thing I said) – he would have to ask me to move to the waiting room. At that moment, not only did I insist on more Novocain but loudly threatened to pull my son from the chair. This was a true Momia moment!
Just recently, I needed dental work and had to find a new dentist. I used the internet and found the perfect dentist, first attempt. Of course I did call and ask tons of questions which led to a consultation visit. None the less, this was the first call I made and our new family dentist. I thought about that wise guy who worked on my son. Did I just get lucky? It would have been beneficial had the internet existed to the extent it does today. While a search may not have revealed an ugly bedside manner, a larger number of references, reviews, and ratings certainly would have been helpful.
The Academy of General Dentistry recommends a consultation visit, which is great advice if you do not have an emergency. During that visit, the AGD suggest patients ask the following:
- Is the dentist a member of organized dentistry (AGD, American Dental Association, etc.)?
- What is the dentist’s commitment to continuing dental education?
- What dental procedures are completed in-office?
- What procedures will be referred out?
- How does the dental team stay up-to-date with the latest procedures?
- How are dental emergencies handled?
So tell me, have you been through a similar experience finding medical care for your family? Do you think internet reviews and references are valid means to finding dentists, doctors and other medical professionals?