Many dental practices are investing heavily in new technologies, like 3D printers and cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) to provide 3D X-rays. New technology can be a great asset to a practice, as we have found at the Institute for Systemic Dentistry, but simply owning the latest gear doesn’t necessarily mean a practice can meet your unique needs. There are many other considerations to keep in mind as you select a dentist.
Here are three questions to ask yourself as you look for the right dental practice.
How much experience does the dentist have with the type of work I need done? Experience can help a dentist anticipate the unexpected and prepare for it, particularly in more complex cases. Even the most cutting-edge equipment cannot substitute for deep clinical knowledge and expertise in specific treatments and surgeries. This is especially true when it comes to dental implant surgery, which can be complicated by underlying health issues or risk factors the dentist must keep in mind.
What skills does the dentist and the practice’s team have? Investing in the latest equipment doesn’t mean that a dentist or other team members in the practice are proficient in using it. There can be a steep learning curve in mastering the newest dental technologies, and many practices are too busy to take the time to do this. An experienced dentist may give you better diagnostics and care using simpler tools and technologies.
What does research say? Patients are more informed than ever before, thanks to the internet—a trend we welcome in our practice. If your dentist is introducing new technology, make sure you spend a little time reading up on it. Is there scientific research showing that the technology delivers better results than a lower-tech method? Keep in mind that using new technologies can sometimes add greatly to the cost of a dental visit, without necessarily delivering better results. If you are not sure a technology will benefit you, ask if there are other options.
Of course, as you evaluate research, it’s important to keep in mind that some studies may be funded by companies that will benefit financially from them. Taking a quick look at several studies can give you a more complete picture than just one. Your dentist can be a great person to ask if you have questions about what you are reading–often these studies are a bit complicated. Here at the Institute, we conduct our own research, and we love to talk with patients who are interested in it.
Technology can be a great asset to any type of medical or dental practice. But ultimately, it is only a tool. As you select a dentist it is important to find someone who brings a depth of experience, technique and effectiveness to your case—so your dentist can be a true partner in your oral and systemic health.