One would hope that every practicing health care professional would provide the highest quality treatments possible. Unfortunately, just with everything in life, dental practices can vary significantly in their levels of professionalism, technique, and skill.

Putting aside the fact that poor oral health can have a significant effect on one’s overall physical wellbeing, there is an economic cost too. A report from the ADA shows the average American dental patient spends over $650 a year on dental care. For those over the age of 65, this jumps to $800 a year.

So, the financial cost of visiting the dentist is certainly undeniable, but this may lead you to question what real differences can there be between dentists?

How the Wrong Dentist Can Cause Negative Impact

Low-quality dental work can be detrimental to oral and overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, since the mouth is an entry point to one’s digestive and respiratory tracts, poor oral health can be linked to diseases such as Endocarditis and Pneumonia.

Dentists who do not invest in the latest technology are less equipped to identify issues before they develop into problems.

Feeling comfortable really matters, a dentist that puts customers at ease creates a more welcoming environment, increasing the likelihood they will return for regular check-ups. This also works as an incentive to keep on top of oral hygiene at home.

What to Look for in a Dentist

Of course, there are many ways of ensuring the quality of any medical practitioner. You can check their education level and their commitment to continued training by examining certificates and asking questions. Below are two more simple ways to easily ascertain high quality.

Cleanliness and Professionalism

During the first visit, consider the overall appearance. Ask: how clean is it? Is the equipment sanitized before each use? Is the treatment room clean, well-lit, and organized? Do the staff wear gloves and protective clothing while treating patients? For those nervous about the quality of the establishment, asking for a tour can help to ease the nerves and give you some reassurance.

Check if they are a member of the American Dental Association.

Members of the ADA pledge to uphold a level of ethical treatment and professional conduct and anyone would want from a healthcare professional.

Where to Look for the Perfect Dentist

You do not need to look far for your local dentist, but always double-check reviews on search engines or social media. Making sure to get second opinions can be a great way of finding out which dentist might be right. Don’t be shy to follow up on a recommendation given by a friend to understand the pros and cons of the dental service.

For those with money struggles or without benefits, local health departments or nearby dental schools will offer help for finding care. There are also some online resources out there to help.

Making an initial visit is not a long-term commitment. You should feel free to visit as many establishments as necessary to find the perfect dentist for you.