How to Find a Sedation Dentist that’s Right for You
It’s estimated that approximately 93 million people have some level of dental anxiety or phobia. Many of them carry those fears from negative childhood experiences at the dentist. Both for yourself and for your kids, it’s important to break the cycle and learn how to make dental treatment a positive experience.
When asking “how do I find a good dentist?” you’ll want to take into consideration some of the advances in the dental field such as the elevation of safe, comfortable sedation dentistry. By putting patients at ease in the chair, the right sedation dentist can eliminate your avoidance tendencies and help you sustain lifelong dental health. There are a few key things to look for in the right dentist for you.
Experience & Ability
It goes without saying that you’ll want to find a dentist who’s a member in good standing of the American Dental Association (ADA), but also find out if they’re a specialist or general dental practitioner. Determine their training and experience in sedation dentistry – you can find a list of those qualified dentists in your area here.
The top dentists are always continuing their education in the field, attending conferences, reading industry journals to keep up on the latest procedures and sedation techniques. The more knowledge they acquire, the better for patients like you!
Access & Availability
Of course, geographic proximity matters if you want to have easy access from your home or job. Do they have adequate office hours and are they taking new patients? If the “right” dentist doesn’t have an opening for months, then they’re probably not the right one for you. Most dentists will note their after-hours availability on their website, so make note before that unexpected dental emergency ruins your weekend.
Personality & Advocacy
Probably the most critical consideration when looking for a dentist — especially if there’s existing anxiety about it — is their personality or chair-side manner. To ensure a more positive, painless experience, it’s so important to have two-way communication with your dentist in order to allay your fears before, during, and after the treatment. The same is true for their staff, from the receptionist to the hygienists.
A good dentist will also advocate for you and your total healthcare picture. They should speak to you, not at you; asking the right questions to determine the best course of sedation, based on your own personality and needs. Additionally, the right dentist will be proactive, working with you on preventative measures that can further motivate you to take care of the teeth you have.
A gentle, experienced dentist will be essential for nurturing a healthy relationship between your children and their ongoing dental health. A pediatric practitioner trained in sedation dentistry can make all the difference in a kid’s comfort level in the chair.
Questions & Answers
It’s vital to our personal agency to be comfortable asking questions of any dental or medical professional before putting our care into their hands. Prioritize the aspects that mean the most to you, whether it’s proximity, personality, or perhaps specialty. Then write down your questions in advance of calling the office or meeting your prospective dentist to avoid that familiar frustration of remembering something important as soon as you hang up. Suggestions:
- Get the basics, such as location, hours, insurance or payment options.
- What is the dentist’s area of specialty, if any?
- How do they work with anxious patients?
- Do they offer sedation dentistry, and what type(s)?
- Which method is best for you, e.g., oral sedation or IV sedation? (This will be determined by your dentist asking the right questions about your fears, health, medications, etc.)
- How does the practice address preventative care as well as treatment?
Not sure what to ask? Here are some FAQ that may help.
You’re Not Alone
Whether you’ve put off looking for a good dentist for you or your family due to mild jitters or outright terror, rest assured you’re not alone. In fact, over 2.25 million patients have found an experienced sedation dentist and you can too! All of our SedationCare professionals are active members of DOCS Education – the #1 leader in sedation education. DOCS Education has specialized in educating dentists for 22 years to provide a path free from fear.