Many prospective dental patients that I encounter are unaware of the role the General Dentist plays in the scope of their overall dental care. Being established with a General or Family dentist you trust is an important ingredient in keeping the cost of dental care low by preventing unexpected pain or unplanned emergency procedures.
I encounter people often who are actually shopping for a dental procedure such as an implant or teeth whitening or a specialist who performs a certain procedure. Most of them are not established with a General Dentist (GD). If they were, a lot of time and effort could be avoided as the GD is in the best position to guide you through the world of dental treatment options. In order to ensure the best outcome for their personal situation it is vital that they be established with and have a good relationship with a General Dentist. They call several offices asking for price quotes on the dental procedure as if they as if they knew this was best for them. I often wonder are they looking for the lowest fee quoted or someone who seems the most knowledgeable and caring; I hope it is the latter.
Dentistry is a health service and is very specific to ones personal situation. Implants aren’t for everyone and teeth whitening may not work at all for some people. A crown may not be the right treatment for that tooth. How would the average person with no medical background know that? Today most everyone is very cost conscious but mostly they want to get the most value out of every dollar they spend. Your General Dentist is the one that is most aware of your personal dental situation and should be your advisor on how to spend your dental dollars most effectively. Obviously there should be a bond of trust with the GD, and he or she should communicate well with their patients. If this is not the case then it may be time to make a change. I see a large number of bad outcomes in dentistry usually result from poor communication and a patient without proper guidance. Patients who are looking for the lowest fee should consider if something goes wrong, is follow up available within a reasonable time, will you see the same dentist or someone that is familiar with your situation? Will it be redone at no cost if it fails? When a health service is heavily discounted you should wonder…are corners being cut? Are inferior materials being used? … will there be any follow up if problems occur? Ask yourself, do you want discounted brain surgery or a discounted parachute?
The adage “you get what you pay for” unfortunately applies to health care and dentistry as well as anything else.
By M. Scrydloff DDS