There are many things to consider when looking for the right dentist and dental practice for you and your family. Here is a checklist which you may find useful:
In order to work legally in the UK, all dentists, dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians, dental hygienists, dental therapists and orthodontic therapists must be registered with the General Dental Council
(GDC), the organisation which regulates dental professionals in the United Kingdom. See The Good Dentist Guide to Dental Regulation
. In addition the dental practice must be registered with the Care Quality Commission
A general dentist must have successfully completed five years of undergraduate training and been awarded a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS or BChD). In addition a good dentist will be able to show evidence of continuing professional development since qualifying, in order to keep up to date with new techniques and treatments. Many will be members of additional professional associations and societies. Specialists have recognised specialist qualifications in particular areas (see The Good Dentist Guide to Dental Specialists
) and some dentists have accreditations for example in treating dental-phobic patients or providing CEREC treatment.
Your dentist, like all the practice staff, should be polite, friendly and respectful. They should be willing to give information, discuss options and answer questions about the risks and benefits of proposed treatments and should be sympathetic to nervous or phobic patients, children and the elderly.
The dental practice should be well organised, immaculately clean and tidy, comfortable and welcoming. Practice staff should be polite, efficient, friendly and respectful. The practice should be open and honest about its prices and always provide a written treatment plan and cost estimate. The practice should have a clearly documented complaints procedure and should welcome feedback; it should keep full and accurate patient notes and should send appointment reminders.
A dentist who is up to date with modern methods will use up to date technology: special dental cameras, computer generated X-ray images, dental lasers, sedation for nervous patients (see The Good Dentist Guide to Nervous Patients
), CEREC for in house design and making of ceramic restorations (see The Good Dentist Guide to CEREC
). They will also use the most technologically advanced laboratories to make anything that cannot be made on the premises.
A practice located close to home or work may make it much easier to attend regular appointments.
Personal recommendation from friends and family can be a great help in choosing the right dentist but using the Good Dentist Guide search facilities
and reading reviews from other patients is invaluable.