It absolutely amazes me just how much the dental profession
has changed since I graduated in 1963. For the most part,a dental
patient’s welfare is at the mercy of the dentist you choose and
allow to work in your mouth !

Most of the changes that have taken place over the last 40 years
have been mostly good changes but like anything else,some changes
have not been so good…. I will explain later on.

Selecting your dentist is a very personal decision that you
should not take lightly. You may ask a relative or good friend
for a referral……But just because they like their dentist,
that doesn’t mean you will !

Finding the right dentist for you is absolutely paramount for
establishing and having excellent oral health for you and your
family on a long term basis.

Many years ago in the 40’s and 50’s, the dental profession
was not as densely populated as it is now. In fact,I believe
that now,there are too many students today graduating from
dental schools in North America..

That said,I will continue to talk about the past for now and
get on with the present later on in this blog. Patients out-
numbered dentists at such a large ratio, the demand for
dental services actually became overwhelming.

Fewer dentists and too many patients meant that new dental
graduates could pretty well establish a successful dental
practice anywhere they pleased in a short period of time.

My own personal experience is a good example of this.After I
graduated from the University of Alberta in 1963,I went to
work in a Vancouver downtown Medical/Dental Building that
had more than 40 general dental practioners working there.

Doing that now, would be absolutely unheard of today! Setting
up a general dental practice now, is an extremely difficult and
expensive undertaking. Most recent graduates have to associate
and work for someone else and perhaps evetually become a partner
and/or buy the existing practice when they can afford it.

In the old days, dentists were not necessarily busy because
they were fine, competent dentists. On the contrary, some
dentists were grumpy,rough, incompetent and had no chairside
manner but still had all the work they could handle.

Why was that? Supply and demand ! Many patients had to go
a dentists whether they liked them or not. …..How sad !

Many patients then were so uninformed of their needs, that
dentists providing their treatment pretty well did what
they wanted without having too much input from the patient.

This situation in my view was inapproriate and unfortunate.
If a dentist did something to you that you did not like
or approve of, he or she would just suggest you to go
somewhere for your dental needs.

They did not care if they lost your business because they
had someone else waiting to take your place.Did you know
that not so long ago, many dentists did not except New
patients because they were just too busy !

Well, thank goodness times have changed for the better in
this regard! Today, you don’t have to go to a dentist you
don’t like . You can shop around until you find the right
one.

As time progressed into the 90’s, the consumer became much
more aware of their options regarding dental services.Their
expectations changed drastically due to Television and later
on, ….computers.

Dental patients today are very much more aware of the
alternatives and choices they have when visiting the dentist.

They know about Veneers,teeth whitening procedures,implants
invisalign systems and the use of lasers, Computer imaging,
infection control and much more.

Now that the dentist to patient ratio has been reduced
considerably, dentists today are actively marketing their
skills and expertise.

This marketing approach from my point of view is unfortunate
because now, more emphasis appears to be placed on making money
as opposed to taking care of the patient’s oral health and
well being.

Some Dentists have now become so creative in marketing their
skills that they have become fraudulent in their billing
procedures. For example,charging for servies not provided,
or abusing the use of too many xrays too often !

Some have even gone so far as to recommend crowns for sound
teeth that do not require crowns or charging for a three
surface filling when they have only done a two surface
filling and so on.

Here are some questions you want to ask yourself when you
are choosing your dentist:

1.Does your dentist use the fee guide provided?
2.Is your dentist caring, gentle, kind and almost painless?
3.Is your dentist always in a hurry to get to the next patient?
4.Is your dentist sincere, thougtful and attentive to you?
5.Does your dentist have a aggressive demeanor?
6.Does your dentist take the time to explain treatment procedures?
7.Does your dentists address your chief complaint promptly?

These are just a few key questions you want answers too, when
you are evaluating the dentist you have chosen !

The shocking truth is that although most dentists are competent
and well educated, many have made the choice to do poor work.

Afterall, they have had several years of post-secondary education
in a specified profession. Yet, they have chosen a high income
over their patient’s health and welfare. I’ve seen it time and
time again.

I would like to continue discussing this matter further in
my next blog ….. any questions are welcome.

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