Choosing a dental clinic is often anxiety provoking and wrought with seemingly-endless internet research paired with inquiries to anyone and everyone for his or her recommendation. Seemingly, every person has the perfect dentist, so word-of-mouth is of little help.
With the prevalence of dental phobia (dentophobia, dental phobia, dental anxiety, odontophobia) reported as high as 75%, a dental clinic should be a place that increases ease and comfort for its patients.
Poor dental health has been linked not only to bad breath and cavities but to other conditions such as cardiovascular issues and even pre-term labour. Consequentially, good dental health is not just a goal in and of itself; it is part of overall health.
Dentists often focus on different areas. Some clinics specialize in cosmetic dentistry such as implants, whitening, and bonding. Many adults are now seeking orthodontics, and there are many options including wireless corrections. Still, others focus on only children’s dentistry. Conversely, some individuals may try a family practice that sees both adults and children. If gum disease is an issue a clinic that offers periodontal focus will be needed.
The most frequent procedure that patients undergo is the routine cleaning. Cleaning is performed in different ways. Some clinics use a water-pick type tool during cleanings while other swear by the metal pick method. In the form of preventative care, many dentists only recommend fluoride for children of a certain age while others suggest it after every cleaning.
The second most frequent procedure are dental x-rays. Most dental clinics have dental x-ray machines in every room. Lately, many dental clinics have an advanced imaging machine that gives the practitioner a 365-degree view of the patient’s head.
Unfortunately, most everyone will experience the need for a cavity filling. Still, others may need a root canal or extraction. Many people require wisdom tooth extraction. It’s important to ask what methods of pain relief are available. Pain alleviation can come through injection, nitrous oxide gas (“laughing gas”) or even intravenous (“IV”) sedation. (Be sure to inform your practitioner if you are allergic to any or all of these medications or are harder to numb than most individuals) Is IV sedation available at your dental clinic or will you need to travel to another facility or even an outpatient clinic for that procedure? Many dental clinics special in root canals and are referred patients from other clinics specifically for that process.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, what is the atmosphere of the dental clinic? Are the appearance and personnel calming? Does your practitioner project competence and ease? Dentophobia is very prevalent and can be a barrier to seeking dental treatment. The importance of dental health cannot be stressed enough as it has been proven to affect one’s overall health so be sure to choose a dental clinic that maximizes the chance of commitment to dental health.