Posted by Dental News Team On February - 26 - 2010

We all make mistakes, you can’t make an omelette without cracking some eggs – and your dentist is no different.

Good dentists always admit their mistakes and correct them. It’s not that people make mistakes, it’s that they refuse to admit, and of course correct, them.

Should you require really complicated dental work, it is always good to get a second opinion, so you can be sure that you’re getting quality work. Don’t feel guilty or hesitate to do this: better safe than sorry!

So good luck finding your dentist, we hope the tips we gave you this week help you on your way!

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Explaining procedures!

Posted by Dental News Team On February - 25 - 2010

Transparency and clear explanations are the mark of a good dentist!

You know how it goes – you ask an expert or professional a question and the answer they give you still leaves you in the dark. This does not mean you’re dumb, it just means that the expert is not as much of an expert as they seemed.

A true professional is capable of explaining even the most complicated procedures in a way you can understand, „splitting them up“ into simpler bites for lay people like you and me!

If you do not understand your dentist’s explanations, this does not mean that the subject matter is too complex, just the way the dentist explains it.
Don’t just accept statements such as „you have a bad tooth”, „you are allergic to implants”, or „you have bed bones”. All of this is not only medically false but is not really an explanation either.

Like all other sciences, dentistry is subject to the principle of cause and effect. A tooth does not just go bad, there has to be some reason, and it’s either your fault, or the dentist’s, or both!

A good dentist uses simple language to explain the procedure s/he is going to use and the general processes in the office are clear and easy to understand!

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Good dentist, bad dentist

Posted by Dental News Team On February - 22 - 2010

Wouldn’t you like to know whether your dentist is good or bad?

We assume you do, which is why this week we are going to tell you all about what to consider when looking for a dentist and how to find a good one.

As usual, we will provide you with an overview of this week’s main topic!

  1. Good dentist – the cost estimate
  2. Dentists and their teams
  3. Hygiene in the dentist’s office
  4. Explaining procedures
  5. Trouble-shooting

Good dentist – the cost estimate
First of all, does your dentist even bother giving you a cost estimate?
No? Then s/he has no idea what s/he is doing!

If yes, how is the estimate structures?
Did you get a thorough check-up before you got the estimate? You should know what has to be done in your case and what will only be performed to fill the dentist’s pockets. What are we going on about? Well, in order for the dentist to provide you with a good cost estimate, s/he needs to have a good idea of the current status of your teeth and mouth.

If s/he does not bother performing a check-up, then it is likely s/he will only do things that cost a lot, namely implants and crowns.

You can always tell good estimates from bad ones, because good estimates always provide detailed information, which is collected during a check-up (assuming, of course, that your mouth really needs an overhaul, not just one bridge or implant if your teeth and mouth are otherwise healthy, otherwise, what would be the point of collecting data!).

A good cost estimate includes:

  • An anamnesis (medical history) / Patient’s request
  • Findings
  • Diagnosis
  • Recommendations for therapy / Alternatives
  • Description of procedures as needed

This information lets the dentist know what you wish to be done, the condition of your teeth (periodontal status, photos, models of your teeth, …), anything and everything you’ll need to set up a treatment plan.

The cost estimate should consider all kinds of work, even work which is less lucrative to the dentist. This includes fillings, root canal treatment, operations such as removing wisdom teeth, etc.

But this is the kind of work which should usually be done first, before doing more complicated procedures – you should make sure the ground is in good shape before you start building houses on it (crowns, implants etc.).

Summing up, a simple cost estimate can and should tell you quite a lot!

  • If your dentist offers you any treatment without performing a thorough check-up first, then chances are that s/he is only going to do things which cost the most money!
  • If the cost estimate starts out with an extensive check-up, then you’re on the right path!
  • If a cost estimate begins with the least expensive types of treatment (renewed root treatment, removing wisdom teeth, periodontal work, …) with dentures (crowns, bridges) last on the list, then stick with that dentist!

More on this topic tomorrow, and by the end of the week you should be able to tell a good dentist from all others!

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Bad Dentists

Posted by Dental News Team On November - 25 - 2009

Good dentist – bad dentist! Are our dentists worse than they were 50 years ago?

zahnaerzteWell… yes and no.

No, because the amount of knowledge we have at our disposal is steadily growing, and today’s highly interconnected global information network  makes for a steady stream of new information.

Yes, because studying is becoming more and more like schooling. This seems to be a general trend and not found only in dentistry.

Acquiring knowledge used to be entirely up to the student. Unlike school, with its schedules, curricula and assignments,a university would leave a student to decide what, where and how to learn.

Of course this meant that the universities had to deal with a certain number of students who never quite managed to „complete“ their studies, but these tended to give up after a while, thus making it possible to separate the wheat from the chaff. Nowadays, internships and colloquia are used to steer students through their studies, leaving little room for personal initiative. At some universities you are basically „carried“ through your studies.

Doctors who graduate like this usually stay on in university clinics, since a hospital or clinic acts as a kind of „buffer“ when mistakes happen, a luxury not given to doctors who have their own offices. Now, this does not mean that doctors who work at university clinics are „incompetent“.

However, it has been observed that talented doctors tend to use clinics as a kind of springboard to acquire knowledge and skills. Later on, they “cash in” on what they learned when they open their own offices . Few stay behind at clinics, taking advantage of the possibility to do research and work together with other doctors.

When talking to a doctor, ask him or her to explain your illness to you, everything can be explained logically and step by step. Moreover, a good doctor should not be afraid to say  – „I don’t know“. If all you get is a vague and incomprehensible explanation, and the doctor seems to be beating around the bush, this is usually a sign that this doctor was „herded through“ their studies.

Learn for the sake of learning and not just to comply with curricula! Under the old system, it was much easier to simply select out the good and bad students – and one thing that hasn’t changed is that the ones who succeed are the ones who want to! What has changed is that nowadays it is easier for a lot of students to get through  their studies by following lecture notes and a catalogue of questions, by simply „learning by rote“.

Dentistry is a craft, as are many other courses of study and professions! Universities should try to use a selection process to weed out those who have little skill, and also very little discipline and personal initiative.

Medicine, dentistry and other social professions have to do with ethics, morals and sustainability. The practice of choosing the costliest course of treatment over the best is unfortunately being encouraged by the way in which university studies are set up!

More about this topic here!

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