It’s not uncommon for the average Brit to stick with the same dentist for years or decades on end. Which is for two reasons – the first of which being that we simply become set in our ways. Whichever dentist we use has been thedentist we’ve used for so long, which means we rarely consider looking elsewhere. In addition, there’s the way in which looking for a new dentist can be a time consuming and inconvenient process. Particularly if the resulting conclusion reached is that the ideal dentist is located somewhat further away than you’d like.
The thing is though, evidence suggests that quite a lot of patients up and down the country are not particularly enamoured with their chosen dental practitioners. For one reason or another, they can’t honestly say that they are completely satisfied, certainly not delighted with the services they are provided. Nevertheless, it is comparatively rare to find anyone on the hunt for a new dentist, unless they’ve recently had something of a dramatic or traumatic experience with their current practitioner.
What so many seem to forget is that when choosing and working with a dentist, you are a paying customer. And the customer is always right. When you choose a store or buy a product that doesn’t meet your expectations, chances are you won’t make the same mistake twice. But when it comes to dental healthcare, people seem to tolerate substandard service more willingly. Or at least, instinctively. The problem being that you will never know if there is a better deal to be found elsewhere, until you take the time to look for it.
As for when the time comes to seek a new dentist, personal opinions and preferences always play a role. Nevertheless, if you encounter any of the following and are currently accepting them as standard, there’s a good chance you could be better off elsewhere:
1. Waiting Lists
First and foremost, some interpret long waiting lists as a sign of quality and popularity. In reality, dangerously long waiting lists are simply a sign that the dentist has accepted far more patients than it can handle. Which in turn indicates a lack of professionalism – the desire to attract as many customers as possible, rather than provide the best possible care for a smaller group of patients. If you are more than happy with the current waiting times applicable to your dentist, no problem. But if you find yourself regularly seething with the huge delays you are expected to deal with, it might be time to switch.
2. Rushed Appointments
There are two types of dental professionals – those who rush appointments to get you out the door, and those who give you as much of your time as they need. Whether it’s discussing the best electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth, options available for professional teeth whiteningor anything else across the board, your dentist should give you their undivided attention for the duration of your visit. The problem being that the moment you feel as if things are being rushed, you no longer feel comfortable asking even the simplest questions. Which for obvious reasons doesn’t necessarily bode well for your own oral health and hygiene. So next time you pay your dentist a visit, it’s worth asking yourself whether or not you feel bothersome or welcome during your session.
3. Uncaring Attitudes
Likewise, there are many dental professionals who at least give the impression that they could not care less about the concerns of their patients. You ask them questions, you expect a professional response and you get little more than a shrug and a brush-off. The simple fact of the matter is that the moment you start believing your dentist doesn’t care, you lose both respect and trust for them. They may serve as something of a robotic service provider to ‘get the job done’ adequately, but that’s it. Given the fact that you are paying what’s probably a significant amount of money for an important service, you deserve a lot more than this.
4. Excessive Costs
Speaking of which, there’s only one way to accurately gauge whether or not you are paying a fair and competitive price for the services you receive. Which is, to do a little homework and find out what otherdentists are charging. Of course, there will always be certain examples of exclusive and prestigious dental clinics which naturally charge significantly higher prices than others. Nevertheless, there are also those which charge elevated prices with no real justification whatsoever. If you feel you have fallen into the latter bracket, think twice before your next appointment.
Just as is the case with people in general, some dentists are much better with kids than others. They can be as professional as they like, but if they do not have that all-important ‘knack’ when it comes to dealing with kids, this could prove problematic. It’s not necessarily their fault – some people just aren’t cut out to deal with kids. Nevertheless, if a family friendly dentist is what you need, you should take the time to find one that is more competent and experienced with younger children. Once again, try to remember that you are the customer and the customer has freedom of choice – no questions asked.
6. Lack of Availability
Last but not least, a caring and responsible dental professional should remain as open and accessible as possible at all times. For obvious reasons, it’s not as if you can simply expect to walk into the surgery unannounced at any time and expect an in-depth consultation. However, if there is something you need urgently or need to ask an important question, it should never be a case of having to wait any number of weeks or months until your next appointment. Be it by telephone, e-mail or arranged in-person appointments at the last minute, it’s always comforting to know that you are working with a dentist that’s both accommodating and accessible.