In today’s focus on dentistry, let’s talk about how to find the best dentist for you.

Hi, I’m Dr. Paul Henny, and let’s talk for a moment about the best way to find a dentist. Get on the internet, you could Google for one. You could maybe get a list from your insurance company and look down and see who’s near where you live or where you work.

Or is there a more intelligent way to do that? And I would like to discuss with you the fact that there are many differences within dentistry today. Most of them that practice come from a very good medical school and they have a license to practice in the state, but does that mean that their experience and their skill sets are most suitable for what your needs are?

The complexity of the dental market has advanced so far today that I think it’s best for consumers to be a little more intelligent about who they match up with particularly if they have needs that are more complex. And one of my suggestions is that you arrange for a conference for a dentist—a potential dentist—that you would consider visiting to deal with a specific problem. I would suggest you call that dental office up, you arrange an appointment to meet with that dentist, and just discuss with them what your issues and concerns are, maybe your fears. And just get a sense for how the office is run. How does it feel? What does it look like? Is it organized? Is it run on time? Are they attentive? Do they answer my questions in a way that makes me feel comfortable? This is simple. This is something that doesn’t cost you anything, this is something that gives you some sense, of whether or not this will be a good fit or not before you spend anything else, before you even spend a dime.

“So consider that. When looking for a new dentist, do a little legwork on the front end. Think about who would be appropriate, maybe talk to two or three before you make a decision, and go from there.

I’ll give you three tips, or questions you can ask, prospective dentists when you visit them for the conference that I was talking about earlier. Particularly if you’re interested in aesthetic or cosmetic improvements of your teeth and smile, one of the first questions that I would ask is, ‘can you show me photographs of actual cases that you’ve done, photographs that show what things look like beforehand and what things look like after’. They would tend to look like something like this or in addition to other photographs. A really competent and capable dentist is going to be really excited to show you their work. A dentist that doesn’t do a lot of this work is going to fumble around and not really have access to barely any of this sort of thing.

Another good question to answer is, ‘does the doctor spend very much time looking at the way your bite functions’. Because the way your bite functions influences everything else, the way your bite functions influence how well your teeth will look and wear over time. So an important question to ask is, ‘do you study the bite of your patients’. Do you use an instrument like this one—this is called an articulator—where we actually take molds of the teeth and we actually analyze the way the teeth come together and move around. This is critical, especially if you’re going to do some redesign work on your teeth and smile, because you can project where they’re going to be problems and you can also project how well things are going to look. So there’s another good question you can ask: do you really look at how your bite works and understand it?

The third and final question I would suggest is would they allow you to call some of the clients they’ve done this type of work on, maybe even the ones they’ve shown you photographs of, can you talk to them. Can you get some feedback on how the process was, how do they feel about it now, whether it’s a year or five years later. What’s their perspective on it? Was it a good decision? Are they happy with it?

So I think if you ask those three simple questions you’re going to learn a tremendous amount about the practice, the quality of the work they’re doing, as well as how the people that have been treated by them feel about it all. Here at this practice these are three things that we do routinely, and I would encourage you to give us a call if you’re interested in learning more about how we work with people.

Our number is (540) 774-1577, or you can call my staff and they can tell you a little more about the practice. I look forward to hearing from you. I’m Dr. Paul Henny.”