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What Makes A “Good” Dental Office?

When choosing a dentist in Anchorage, consider a few things before making the final choice. All dental offices are not alike, nor do they provide the same services or quality. Additionally, the professional team members, including the hygienist and the assistant, all contribute to a successful and enjoyable visit.

Most professionals, including medical doctors, lawyers and dentists, welcome questions from new or existing patients. Believe it or not, dentists want patients to be comfortable during their visits and respond to any questions. It is very important to give the dentist as much information as is available. The dentist can make better-informed decisions about how to approach a problem area or which type of cleaning instruments are preferred.

Most modern dental clinics use only ultrasonic instruments to clean teeth. More and more dental hygienists are trained in using this technology while in school. Some patients still prefer to have their teeth cleaned by hand with the typical steel instruments. Dental offices generally offer both types of cleaning. However, it is important to inform the scheduler, when making an appointment, that one method or the other is preferred. That way, the office can match the hygienist with the patient’s preferences.

Another sign of a dental office that provides high quality service is when the appointment allows enough time to adequately clean the teeth, discover any problems, and discuss them with the patient. Hygienists who take the time to explain a treatment plan are much more likely to influence the patient to follow it successfully.

Dentists trust the hygienist who cleans the teeth, to inform them of any potential problems or concerns they noticed when cleaning the teeth. If the dentist does not have a cordial and respectful tone with the hygienist, it will compromise the quality of work.

Look for a dental office that does not have a “revolving door” of personnel. It’s often desirable to work with the same hygienist on a regular basis. The hygienist, like a nurse or a legal assistant, will get to know a patient’s complete history and establish benchmarks for future appointments.

Working with the same staff professionals also helps to keep patients comfortable and confident in the work being done over a series of appointments or in a long-term patient. The concept of continuity is especially beneficial for children, older patients and those with high levels of anxiety. Seeing the same, comforting face every six months can make all the difference between a successful and stress-free appointment or a miserable one.

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