10 Most Important Questions to Ask when Choosing a Dentist Abroad
Dentists are abundant in almost any country. However, getting the finest dental care is not that easy to find, especially if you only search locally. In some countries, the dentist costs are so ridiculously high that people opt to go abroad, pay for travelling costs and for the stay, complete the dental procedure and still have saved enough money to make the trip worthwhile.
If you wish to be sure that the dentist you are going to pick is skillful and knowledgeable, ask them the following questions before deciding.
1. What areas of dentistry do you specialize in?
While in general it is a sub-field of medicine, dentistry actually has quite a few sub-fields of its own. Some dentists specialize as orthodontists, others specialize in cosmetic dentistry, and there are also specializations in implants, family dentistry, etc. A dentist specialized in one area can treat patients with other problems, however, the problem is that they have probably only had 1 or 2 such cases in their career. If the dentist does not do the procedure that you need often, then you should probably take another one.
2. How experienced are you?
Experience is one of the most important categories when choosing a doctor or a dentist for literally any medical procedure. Experienced dentists, especially those experienced in the area your desired treatment falls into, have seen a lot of cases and will know what to do and how to react even in most unusual circumstances.
3. Did you attend any continuous education classes or seminars in the past year?
Continuous education is especially important in dentistry, as progresses are being made in the field on regular basis. Whether it is discovering new materials that can be utilized, new tools and machines, or new treatment practices, it is important for the dentist to stay updated with the developments in his field. This is also a sign whether the dentist takes his/her practice seriously and with dedication.
4. How are your instruments sterilized?
Dentists’ instruments are supposed to go into your mouth, so there is no question that they should be sterilized, especially when you consider that those same instruments are used to treat other people with all kinds of oral problems. When listening to the answer, pay attention for the following keywords – autoclave and chemiclave. These are the latest and the leading ways of sterilizing equipment today, and they should be a part of any reputable clinic’s practice.
5. Do you take x-rays before the procedure?
A good dentist knows that he should not go into treatment blindly and that he needs some visual guidance (aside from his own eyes) when treating someone’s oral problems. Most dentists just do an x-ray scan to be sure that what they are going to do is the right thing to do. Also, ask them how they conduct x-rays. Advances in the field have allowed the use of computer imaging, which lowers the radiation taken from an x-ray by 90%.
6. What sort of materials do you use?
The choice of materials to be used can tell you a lot about a dentist. Any dentist should strive to use the latest materials available (which are fully tested, of course), and those state-of-the-art materials should help you look and feel better. Also, the dentist in question should have an understanding of the complicated procedures required for using the materials and placing them on, around or instead of your teeth.
7. Do you do an oral cancer screening?
Oral cancer is difficult to detect early on, as it can start as a single spot anywhere in the mouth. As with any cancer, early discovery (even though cancers rarely present symptoms early on) is crucial for complete cure. This is why many dentists do preventive oral cancer screenings when their patients visit for the first time.
8. Do you have a recommendation for preventing the problems you will be treating?
Oral problems are usually recurring and solving a problem with a dentists’ help does not mean that it will go away forever. The key to not having them occur again is proper prevention, dental hygiene, and, in some cases, a change in diet. Since the problem you are having has probably already been thoroughly researched, ask the dentist for advice and heed it. The dentist which doesn’t provide any advice obviously has only the treatment in mind and not your overall well-being, i.e. you are just a cash-cow to him/her.
9. Can you provide some references?
Every dentist should be able to provide references from satisfied customers. However, this alone is not enough. The best strategy would be to have him give you three references from satisfied customers and two from his/her colleagues in the field. The two references from the colleagues are supposed to show you whether they have the respect from their colleagues. The most important thing here is to actually follow up on those demands and get in touch with those references to confirm them. Many patients ask for references and are just so satisfied that the dentist has provided them that they never follow up. It doesn’t hurt to check!
10. What is the cost and what is included?
The cost of dental procedures can be really high in some cases and in some countries. Since this is probably the reason why you are travelling for a dental procedure in the first place, you should be aware about the cost from the very start. You should also know what it is that the specific cost provides for you. You should also ask whether the dentist can tell you how many visits you will need, so that you can arrange for proper lodging and accommodation during your stay in the country.
Bonus: Do you accommodate people who have dental anxiety?
Fear of the dentist is such a scare that most people that have it usually never visit the dentist or pay attention to dental care. Dentists too have realized this and they have started to incorporate techniques which are designed to ease the patient into the procedure. Whether it is by playing calming music, utilizing nitrous-oxide, or giving the patient anti-anxiety medications, the dentist should try their best to alleviate the anxiety. Dentist’s bearing has a part in this, too, and the best ones are the ones who can instill calmness into their patients by themselves.
All of the above should serve you to choose the best possible dentist for yourself. Everyone has different tastes and different needs, so there are no universal answers to these questions. However, you should go through all of these questions with every dentist that you think about visiting, and choose the one who gives the most appropriate answers to all the questions.
If you wish to know more about dentistry packages abroad or would like to schedule a procedure, feel free to contact us!