Sitting down for dental exams is hardly a moment most people look forward to, but it shouldn’t fill you with dread either. If every six months you find yourself anxious about the prospect of your next dental visit, it may be time to cancel your next appointment.
But how do you know when to change dentists? Let’s take a look at three signs you should consider other options.
1. Your Dentist Causes You Pain
While having your teeth scraped can indeed be uncomfortable at times, for the most part, routine cleanings should be pain-free. An experienced dentist or dental hygienist is able to carry out essential services without causing excessive discomfort or being too rough. If your visits hurt, it’s probably time to break up with your dentist.
When searching for a new one, disclose your prior painful experiences; a reputable clinic should prioritize patient comfort and put you at ease. And if you have a fear of pain, look for a dentist that offers sedation dentistry, an anxiety reduction method that relies on specially targeted medication.
2. Your Dentist Fails to Meet American Dental Association (ADA) Standards
Hygienic practices and up-to-date facilities should be of the utmost importance to any trustworthy clinic.
While you are certainly not responsible for knowing the latest hygiene practices, it’s generally easy to identify the traits of a subpar clinic. For example, a red flag would be a hygienist digging around in drawers and putting a hand in your mouth without changing gloves. Similarly, tools should come only from unopened bags, which indicate that they are sterilized.
Simply put, if your dentist is not meeting ADA standards, it’s time to move on.
When considering a new dentist, pay attention to any of the following warning signs:
- Dust. Bacteria and aerosol particles can be lurking in dust. A visibly dusty office is likely unsterile.
- Clutter. Bacteria can also be hiding in clutter. Piles of paperwork stacked from floor to ceiling and cardboard boxes everywhere are another reason to suspect the clinic does not take cleanliness seriously.
- Dirty bathrooms. Restrooms in need of cleaning are yet another sign that the dental office does not prioritize cleanliness.
3. Your Dentist’s Customer Service Skills Are Lacking
Maybe your dentist has all the latest technology, reasonable prices, and experience in all kinds of dentistry. They may also always deliver the results you’re looking for, but despite their expertise, something feels off. It could be a rushed feeling during exams, a poor bedside manner, or a dismissal of your questions.
Poor customer service is one of the most significant reasons to change dentists. It’s entirely possible to find a dentist with excellent bedside manners who will listen to you, so there is no need to tolerate lousy treatment.
The right dentist will handle your questions with patience, and they will be welcoming; a true professional won’t make you feel like just another set of teeth. Similarly, observe how the office staff treats you. Rude behavior from them is a red flag.
Don’t Settle for a Subpar Dentist
Choosing a dentist isn’t like choosing a marriage partner. There is nothing binding you to a dentist who offers inferior service or who simply gives you bad vibes. If you don’t like the experience, don’t think twice about moving on.
Solicit recommendations from your friends, read online reviews, and don’t rest until you find the dental provider who makes you feel comfortable and valued.