What Should Your Experience as a Dental Patient be Like?

What Should Your Experience as a Dental Patient be Like?

Your dentist is an important member of your healthcare team. Because our team at NK Family Dental always emphasizes that dental health is part of overall health, we want you to know that your patient experience should meet certain standards to ensure the best possible treatment, care and outcome.

As our blog post — “How to Choose a Dentist” — covers, your dentist should be more than someone you see twice a year for a cleaning and oral exam, or visit when you have a toothache. A good dentist will be your partner in helping you achieve and maintain optimum oral health by recognizing and treating conditions — such as periodontal disease — in their early stages, as well as recommending a regular oral health routine for you to follow at home, based upon your individual situation.

With this in mind, you should expect the following experience as a dental patient.

Expect a Clean and Comfortable Dentist Office with Up-to-date Equipment

All conscientious dentists agree upon this fundamental necessity. As Twin Aspen Dental Center puts it, “First impressions make lasting relationships. If your dentist doesn’t take pride in the appearance of their office or the friendliness of their staff, then they probably won’t put in the effort when it comes to your oral care. A good dentist maintains a clean, orderly office and hires staff that is friendly and approachable when you have questions, ensuring you feel at ease during your visit.”

At the front desk, the office should be computerized, instead of using paper charts.

Moreover, take notice of the age and condition of equipment, such as imaging equipment (the X-ray machine) and the dental chair. The dental chair is part of the dental unit, which consists of specific parts that also include the dental chair, stool, lighting, hydric box, aspiration and other elements. All imaging equipment and the dental unit should be up-to-date and functioning efficiently. Imaging equipment should be digital, not film. Dental technology is continually improving, so a dentist using old equipment isn’t likely to provide the best possible treatment.

Expect Clear, Open Communication with Your Dentist

Your dentist should answer your questions to your satisfaction, in a manner that you understand. Good dentists know that patients may be unfamiliar with certain medical terminology pertaining to oral diseases, or need to have a complex condition broken down in easy-to-understand terms. In addition, your dentist should be clear and detailed about the recommended course of treatment, and disclose the cost. You may be referred to the front desk to discuss payment options or financing. Good dentists also know that a patient may be anxious, and will communicate in a way to alleviate fear and apprehension.

Your dentist should never try to upsell you on procedures or care that you don’t need. It is also very important for you to know that you should never feel that you are being pressured to consent to extensive, expensive treatment. This can be a situation in practices that heavily promote cosmetic dentistry. You need to take the time to consider the proposed treatment, your budget and your payment plan. Do not sign any form or document before you are comfortable with your decision. If you feel that you’re being coerced to do so, leave, and find another dentist. Don’t worry about what the dentist thinks — you need to look after your own best interests.

Expect Pain-free Dental Treatment

Depending upon your age or experience at the dentist’s office, you may have had dental treatments or procedures that caused pain. Unfortunately, in years past, this often was considered typical. However, today’s wide range of dental anesthetics help ensure that no one experiences pain during any type of procedure. Even the injection of local anesthesia can itself be pain-free by the application of a topical numbing gel to the gum. The gel may even have a pleasant flavor or scent!

Of course, it’s the responsibility of your dentist to provide you with a pain-free, comfortable experience. Going back to the importance of good communication, tell your dentist if you’ve been difficult to numb during previous procedures. Also, make sure that your dentist is experienced in the procedure he or she is recommending. A dentist who usually doesn’t perform root canals or dental implants may not have the experience and/or up-to-date instruments to do so without causing discomfort or pain — not to mention being able to achieve a successful result. A conscientious, ethical general dentist will refer you to a specialist or oral surgeon for treatment that is outside their qualifications or experience.

Your Responsibilities as a Dental Patient

As in any type of relationship — which should work both ways — the patient has important responsibilities, as well. The basics are as follows:

  • Be on-time for appointments, and give adequate notice if your appointment needs to be changed.
  • Provide, to the best of your ability, accurate, honest, and complete information about your medical history and current health status.
  • Understand that you have the responsibility for consequences resulting from declining treatment or from not following the agreed-upon treatment plan.
  • Understand that you have the responsibility for maintaining good oral health practices, and following your dentist’s instructions for any specific at-home oral care treatment that has been prescribed or recommended.

The Take-Home Message

Visiting your dentist should be a positive experience on every level. Even if you need treatment, it should be pain-free and result in a successful outcome that cures or corrects the cause of the condition. Your dentist should also be your partner in helping you achieve an effective oral care program to prevent tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Our team of experienced, dedicated dental professionals will help address your oral health concerns, and determine the best solution for you based on your individual situation. We strive to identify treatment options that fit your needs.

We understand that the main concern you may have is cost, which is why we accept all major PPO plans for dental insurance and also offer our in-house dental plan. Please see our financing page for more information.

At NK Family Dental, it is our mission to provide the highest quality and most compassionate oral care to our Chicago patients, including both dental and periodontal services. Our practice is trusted for advanced oral surgery procedures and comfortable root canal treatment.

Our dental specialists include our general dentist, Dr. Nilofer Khan, our endodontist, Dr. Sabek, and our periodontist, Dr. Amir Danesh. Dr. Danesh is a board-certified periodontist and Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology. He has contributed to the publication of two books, as well as published over 20 papers in prestigious dental research journals.

We serve the neighborhoods of Logan Square, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, and Wicker Park with the dedication that’s earned us the reputation as the Best Dentist in Chicago!

Schedule your visit through ZocDoc, or contact us directly. We look forward to treating you soon! 


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