I am often asked by patients who are moving to another area, what they should look for when choosing a new dental practice; after all in these times of austerity you don’t want to be charged an extortionate amount of money for your dental treatment but at the same time most people are aware that in dentistry, like everything else in life, ‘you get what you pay for’.
So my answer is always the same, use my 10 point check list to assess if your dental practice is offering you great value for money and the high standard of care you deserve.
1. Qualifications and accreditations
Many dentists give the impression that they are ‘specialists’ in specific areas of dentistry, you can check a dentists qualifications at the General Dental Council’s website, (www.gdc-uk.org) Any dentist should be happy to show you membership certificates to associations they are in, ensure that they are registered as ‘accredited members ‘which requires evidence of excellence in dentistry to be submitted.
Look for a dentist who has long term experience in the treatment you need. They should be able to show you many historical cases they have completed with before and after clinical photographs. Ask if you are able to speak with patients who have undergone similar treatments to yours. A dentist should hold a list of patients who have agreed to talk to new patients should they wish to.
3. No financial surprises
A dentist is required to inform you of any proposed treatment and the financial investment involved BEFORE beginning treatment, whenever possible. Many practices employ treatment coordinators who will present you with a fully itemised treatment plan and discuss any treatment options with you. NEVER have any dental treatment without knowing the full amount of your investment first. Check if there is a range of good finance options available to help with more expensive treatment costs. Also, does the practice run a membership scheme with an easy pre-payment membership plan to cover your routine dental needs and include emergency dental insurance even when you’re on holiday abroad?