Your question to God's ears......literally!!
I wish there were a way for lay people to know if their dentist was competent in their skills and was truly in the profession to do right by the patient. But honestly unless you have spent years in this profession working on people's mouths where you could see the dental work that has been done by dentists, there really is no way for you to know good from bad. You can contact the local or state dental board and ask for information pertaining to a specific dentist, but I'm not sure you would be able to get the information you were seeking nor would it be truly helpful.
The problem with seeking this type of information has it's pros and cons. On the pro side, you would get a glimpse into what may or may not have happened (negatively) to a patient(s) in a particular practice. But on the con side, the allegations against the dentist may or may not have been true and you wouldn't know the truth because you would only be getting one side of the story.
I can honestly say that in general people definitely share similar dental problems. More times than not, I can hear the beginning of a dental story and accurately finish it without being told the end of the story first. However, the outcome of their treatment has so many variable factors that depend on so many additional variables..............
One.... the patients physical/mental health, medications and other oral conditions will affect the outcome of their treatment.
Two.... the compliance of the patient may only be part way and the treatment remains incomplete. This happens quite often when someone has alot of dental work to be done and they do not go through with all of it for personal or financial reasons. This can negatively affect the work that has already been done or partially done because it is difficult to mix old with new or bad with good and expect a positive long term outcome.
Three...... the competence of the dentist in his mechanical or tooth carpentry skills. It's like any other profession, some people are very good and others are not good at what they do every day :-((
Four..... the knowledge of the dentist in treating the patient according to their individual needs. Many people present themselves with a sleu of health issues and/or medications. Dental school does not go into any detailed education on how to treat ill or compromised patients. Their pharmacological studies are slim and they bascially educate themselves from their patients experiences, unless they deliberately take additional education to learn about pharmacology. I cannot emphasize enough that the patient needs to be their own advocate or at best have someone else be with them who can be their advocate. To complicate matters, if the chairside assistant is not educated in treating compromised patients (and most of them are not because it is not mandatory) then there is no watchful eye bringing attention to the dentist of certain patient health related issues.
Five..... the quality of the materials used for dental restorations as well as the quality of the workmanship from the dental lab that he uses. Dentists are known, amongst each other, for being very tight fisted with spending money. If they can use a less expensive material but still charge the same fee, many of them will choose to do that. Even if it means having to redo the restoration over and over again. Some HMO, DMO and union insurance plans will pay participating dentists every time they place a filling. So if the filling has to be redone, redone, and THEN the tooth is root canaled from all the previous grinding down and THEN crowned....... well, that's quite a bit of revenue for restoring one tooth! Of course the patient has had to endure the dental experience time and time again which is totally not right... IMO. But this is the way it has been for many, many years and how is a patient to know what's really going on?? Also, dental lab fees can be very expensive when a highend quality lab is hired to fabricate crowns, bridges, dentures......etc. One way to keep the lab costs down is to hire a less superior lab who utilizes lower cost material and less qualified lab techs to do their work. These lower lab costs are generally not passed onto the patient and the patient has no knowledge of the product being of inferior quality.
Five......... most dental patients are fairly clueless or confused about what is being done. The reason for this is because the patient is hesitant to ask questions for fear of sounding silly, being more confused or just plain fearful. And/or the dentist only explains things to a point and expects the patient to just trust them and go along.
My intention in telling all of this is not to put down the dental profession. Afterall, it is a necessary evil ~'.'~ and it really doesn't have to be! I know how important it is for the betterment of all people to be truthful and for people to realize that dental school has not changed it's curriculum in 150 years! It is easy for the mainstream thinking to take the attitude that the old stand by is good enough because it's worked all of this time and the patient will just accept it. However, the old standby has never considered the patients overall wellbeing and it still contnues to utilize very toxic materials which have undisputedly been making people sick for over 150 years.......... so it's time for a change!
I suggest to people who are seeking a new dentist, to consider someone who has been educated in the traditional manner but someone who has also chosen to step outside of the box by continuing to educate themselves on materials and techniques that offer their dental patients the best and least toxic forms of dentistry. These dentists tend to be more skillful in their dental carpentry due to their personal reasons to be the best at what they do, they hire knowledgable experienced staff and utilize nothing but superior dental labs. Their goal is to help their patients look better, feel better and do so without adding any further burden to their patients existing medical situations.
One source in finding a dentist is the IAOMT.org website. I cannot vouch for all of these dentists, but the mindset of those who partake in this worldly organization is similar to what I have described above. Knowing what I know.... it would be the first place that I would personally start my search for a new dentist.
I may have gone on a bit more than you expected..... I hope I've helped with your question at least a little bit! ~'.'~
Originally Posted by dahlek
dentist who isn't sloppy or incompetent?
I have a friend in another state who'd been going to one for ages and had to change upon their retirement. Subsequent visits to other dentists seem to be about 5 times the costs of the old one, and also that there are indications that some poor work had been done previously.
HOW does a search for a GOOD, competent and reasonable new dentist begin? Can one find out if some are censored by any medical boards or whatever? Surely we all, especially us with neuro issues, want to be safer and we are far more cautious than most....we have to be.
Any ideas? Please? Thanks! As always
's - j