How do I find a new dentist

How do I recognize a good dentist?

Good practice organization

Working people in particular are familiar with this: special appointment offers in the evening meet the needs of patients. But flexible opening times do not say anything about the quality of a dental practice. Long waiting times for an appointment or long waiting times in the practice are often an indication of poor practice organization. Patients should not have to wait longer than 30 minutes for a fixed appointment. In the event of pain, it should always be possible to get an appointment as soon as possible.

Many practices offer a so-called recall system in which patients receive an automatic notification to remind them of dental check-ups. Because: Twice a year, those with statutory health insurance are entitled to a dental check-up.

Competent initial consultation and thorough initial examination

When patients introduce themselves to a new practice, the dentist should conduct a detailed initial consultation. He will ask about existing diseases such as tooth decay, periodontitis or other underlying diseases, as well as about possible therapy requests. A thorough initial examination is also important so that the dentist can form his own picture of the health of the teeth and gums. Sometimes this also includes an x-ray of the teeth.

Advice and freedom of choice in upcoming treatments

If a specific treatment is pending, the doctor must advise the patient in understandable language. The handing over of written information never replaces the obligatory conversation. The consultation should not take place lying down, but seated and at eye level with the doctor. It is not the practice staff but the doctor who gives the patient comprehensive advice on the course of the therapy and its risks and offers alternatives. A dentist who is registered with the health insurance company is obliged to present the therapies and services provided by the health insurance company in detail. Caution is advised if the doctor devalues ​​health insurance benefits as inadequate and only suggests paid therapy. In many cases, treatment is possible without chargeable extras (exception: dentures).

Note: A dentist who is not only interested in the patient's money will name health insurance alternatives free of charge and present additional offers with additional private costs as such. Differences in price and quality must be clearly understandable for the patient.

At the end of the consultation, summarize the points that are important for you, which have been explained to you, and communicate these to the dentist. In this way, you and your doctor can be certain that you have understood all the essential points of the upcoming treatment and possible costs. In the case of expensive and longer-lasting therapies, you should make a short memory log at home. So you always have an overview of the ongoing treatment.

Focus: oral care at home

A competent dentist attaches great importance to good dental care. This means that the dentist regularly gives the patient tips and assistance for oral hygiene at home as part of the check-up appointments. In addition, he should regularly measure the depth of gum pockets in order to identify and treat periodontal disease at an early stage.

Note: A good dentist actively involves the patient in dental care and is not primarily concerned with regularly selling him an expensive professional tooth cleaning service. Because: The decisive factor is less the dental cleaning in the practice than the daily, correctly performed oral hygiene at home.

If patients decide to have their teeth cleaned professionally, they should make sure that the dentist himself checks the results of the tooth cleaning afterwards.

Beware of alleged specialists

There is high competition among dentists. New patients are often recruited with bold names that promise experience and competence. Other than in the other groups of doctors, there are only a few specialist titles in the dental field.

These include the specialists in periodontology, orthodontics and oral surgery. Terms such as "implantologist" or "prophylaxis specialist" are not protected and therefore do not offer a quality feature on their own.

Patients should pay attention to whether the title is linked to the advanced training of a specialist society. This includes, for example, the DG PARO specialist for periodontics.

Beware of doctor review portals

Doctor rating portals, on which patients can also find reviews about dentists, are now enjoying great popularity. However, patients should know that distortion and manipulation are possible.

Note: On the one hand, doctors can buy so-called "premium entries" from some review portals so that they appear at the top of the hit list or are highlighted in color. This ranking is then not due to positive reviews.

So far, many doctors have received only a few, possibly even only one evaluation. This is not how you can form an informed opinion about a practice. Patients should therefore also ask friends, acquaintances and colleagues for advice.

Together with the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Dentists, the German Dental Association has developed a guideline on quality requirements for tooth evaluation portals, with which the quality of tooth evaluation portals can be assessed. Above all, an understandable, transparent evaluation procedure and a separation of content and advertising in the portal are decisive for a qualitative evaluation portal.