How to Choose a Dentist

 

Choosing a healthcare provider is an important decision. Finding a professional worthy of your trust to treat and prevent illness — perhaps not only for yourself but also for your family — is a task to take seriously, rather than left to chance. Our team at



 



24/7 Local Dentist






always emphasizes that dental health is part of overall health. For this reason, we offer the following advice on choosing a dentist — from researching professional credentials to questions to ask during the consultation, and what you need to look for when you visit the office. We’ll also cover “red flags” that indicate the practice you’re considering may not be right for you.

 

Why Your Choice of Dentist is Important

 

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.

 

 

 






Dr. Cathy Taylor-Osborne — director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Bureau of Oral Health —



 



writes the following






for



 



MouthHealthy






— an oral health information website presented by the



 



American Dental Association






(ADA):

 

 

“Your dental health is such a vital part of your overall health, so it’s important for every patient to have a dental home. That means there is always someone looking out for the best interest of you and your family.” In this way, having a dental home allows you to feel comfortable when you’re dropping in for a regular visit and provides you with a safe, trusted place to turn for a procedure or dental emergency. Our blog post — “



 



How to Prepare for a Dental Emergency






” — highlights the advantage of having a regular dentist to call to receive care as soon as possible.

 

 

If you are also seeking a dentist for your child, you may want to find one whose practice includes pediatric (child) dentistry. This is a specialty area for many reasons, and not every dental practice is conducive to treating children.



 



24/7 Local Dentist provides comprehensive pediatric dentistry






, giving your child the very best start for a lifetime of excellent oral health in a calming, supportive environment. Most dental practices do not offer specific pediatric treatment. While such a practice can offer high-quality, conscientious treatment for adults, you most likely will need to look elsewhere for a pediatric dentist.

 

Factors to Consider When Looking for a Dentist

 

Looking for a new dentist isn’t something you do on a regular basis, so knowing what you need to take into consideration will give you the ability to make a good choice. The following tips are courtesy of



 



MouthHealthy






,



 



HealthGrades






, and



 



DentistryIQ






:

 

 

Research credentials —






Board certification is one of the most important factors when choosing a dentist. It tells you that the dentist has the necessary training, skills, and experience to provide healthcare in general dentistry. Also, confirm that the dentist has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You can find the dentist’s medical school, training hospital, certifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on



 



Healthgrades.com






and state websites.

 

 

Look for ADA membership











Dentists who are ADA members have agreed to follow the



 



ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct






and made a professional promise to put your health and well-being first. The ADA’s free online



 



Find-A-Dentist






tool allows you to search by name, location, and specialty for member dentists.

 

 

Read patient reviews —






Reading what other people have to say about a dentist can provide insight into how a dentist practices general dentistry, as well as how his or her dental practice is operated.



 



Patient reviews






typically reflect people’s experience with scheduling appointments, wait times, office environment, and office staff friendliness. You can learn how well patients trust the dentist, how much time he or she spends with their patients, and how well he or she answers questions.

 

 

Visit their website and social media accounts











A dental practice’s



 



website






provides valuable information about services, specialties, and other pertinent facts. For example, you may learn that a dentist is good at putting anxious patients at ease. Active



 



social media accounts






indicate that the practice values engaging with patients by sharing news and photos of office activities.

 

If you have dental insurance, know what your plan covers

You chose dental insurance to save money. To receive the most benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket for your care, you may need to choose a dentist who participates in your plan. You should still consider credentials, experience, outcomes, and the quality of the office as you select an in-network dentist.

Schedule a consultation

Schedule a consultation time to meet with the dentist and staff before making an appointment. Compile a list of questions and bring your records so the dentist can look at your dental history if you want to ask something specific. You’ll also be able to see if the office is welcoming, comfortable, and neat.

A few questions you might want to ask include:

Look around the office and ask about their technology —

The overall impression you get should be of a clean, well-ordered environment. Most offices have intraoral cameras to show you what’s going on in your mouth and digital X-ray equipment. The office should be computerized, instead of using paper charts. We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here, but old equipment, shabby waiting room furniture, and a general disorganized vibe are signs that you need to continue your search.

Ask what will happen at your new patient appointment —

There should be time to talk to the dentist and staff to understand or establish your oral health goals. An office that offers this opportunity is dedicated to providing comprehensive care.

How Not to Choose a Dentist – And Red Flags to Watch Out For
 

Convenient location —

Your time is valuable, but so is your oral health. The dentist who is closest to your home or office isn’t necessarily the best for you. If, after you’ve done your research and due diligence that turns out to be the case, great! Otherwise, you could be trading the skilled, competent care you need for convenience.

The cost factor

Budgets are real, and most people economize wherever and whenever possible. But looking for a bargain in a dentist can not only negatively impact your oral health, but it can also ultimately wind up costing you extra.

a

As Amanda Hill, BSDH, RDH



 



states for DentistryIQ






, “Selecting someone who doesn’t have the expertise you need or someone who only treats issues when they’re true problems — as opposed to looking for the why behind all the cavities you keep getting or the receding gums that cause sensitivity — could, in the long run, cost you time and teeth.

 

“Often the least expensive dentistry isn’t the most comprehensive; for example, you might have a rather large cavity in a tooth, and while you could put a big filling in it for less money, down the road, that tooth could crack, need a root canal, or worse yet, need to be pulled and an implant placed. So, for the price of an excellent-fitting crown the first time, you could have saved thousands of dollars.”

Because a friend tells you their dentist is “nice” —

While rapport is crucial in any relationship with a healthcare provider, “nice” doesn’t always correlate to the quality of care you’ll receive.

“You can ask to see examples of their dentistry; look at before and after pictures and X-rays of recent crowns they have done,” says Hill. “How does their dentistry look to you? Does it look natural or like bright white Chiclets? When you look at an X-ray there shouldn’t be dark spots or ledges around crowns. Ask them to explain what you’re looking at and why they’re exceptional at what they do.”

Watch out for the following

As previously mentioned, pay attention to the overall cleanliness and condition of the office. Worn-out furniture could indicate the practice doesn’t have enough patients to be able to afford better. Take note of the attitude of the front desk staff, dental assistants, etc. If they seem overly stressed, rude, or dismissive toward you, working conditions may not be good — or the dentist doesn’t care about the quality of the staff.

Look at the age and condition of equipment, such as 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, cuspidor, and other elements. All imaging equipment and the dental unit should be up-to-date and functioning efficiently. If they aren’t, continue your search.

How does the dentist impress you? If he/she doesn’t answer your questions to your satisfaction — or doesn’t want to answer them at all — seems dismissive of your concerns, etc., this particular dentist might not be right for you, even if the reviews you’ve read are mostly positive. Also, note how he/she speaks to the dental assistant and other staff members. Does the dentist treat them in a professional manner, or seem angry, impatient, or annoyed? Your dentist doesn’t have to be your best buddy, but you do need to have a good doctor-patient relationship based on respect. If you don’t feel you get that during the consultation, keep looking.

Last, but certainly not least, 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. After a consultation and recommendation for crowns or veneers, the patient may be led to a room by someone other than the dentist and given a form to sign consenting to the recommended work — which may cost several thousands of dollars. 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 pressured to do so, leave, and find another dentist.

The Take-Home Message

Whether you need to find a new dentist because you’ve just moved, your current dentist is retiring or relocating, or you’re not satisfied with the treatment you’ve been receiving, the process can be less stressful if you know how to go about it. We hope we’ve provided a helpful guide on your journey to connecting with a dentist who will be your trusted partner in caring for your oral health!

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.

 

 

 


24/7 Local Dentist






, 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-ceratified 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.

 

What is a Smile Makeover and is it Right for You?

Having a beautiful smile is a powerful boost to self-confidence — and can open doors in many aspects of your life! But the bright, perfect “movie star” smile that’s so desirable can’t always be achieved by best oral health practices alone. Fortunately, a smile makeover is designed to give you what nature didn’t — or what poor restorations and/or other adverse dental conditions took away. If you’re considering your options to achieve a smile you can be proud of, a smile makeover could be the solution!

What is a Smile Makeover?

As the name implies, a smile makeover involves a combination of cosmetic dental procedures and treatments to correct multiple aesthetic flaws that affect your smile. Teeth that are broken, gapped, uneven, chipped, short, worn-down, misshapen — or have minor misalignments or permanent staining — can achieve a look that is aesthetically balanced, with a brighter, whiter color that complements your skin tone. Correcting a “gummy” smile also can be part of this process.

Depending on your oral structure and aesthetic goals, your smile makeover could involve the following:

 

Veneers –






Comprised of thin, wafer-like porcelain shells that are custom-shaped and bonded to the front surface of teeth to enhance their appearance and correct noticeable flaws, veneers are one of the most popular treatments in cosmetics dentistry. Teeth are prepared by removing a layer of enamel, which allows the veneer to fit securely over the tooth and create a strong bond. We invite you to read our blog posts — “



 



What are Veneers?






” and “



 



Are Veneers Right for You?






” — to learn more.

 

 

In addition to traditional



 



veneers






,



 



24/7 Local Dentist Dental






is proud to offer the



 



Lumineers®






brand, which is designed to be ultra-thin and eliminates the need to remove tooth enamel.

 

 

Composite bonding






— This can be an option for those with insufficient enamel for veneers. A composite resin is sculpted, shaped, polished, and adhered to the front of the teeth. However, bonding is not stain-resistant and is not as natural-appearing as porcelain veneers. Our blog post — “



 



Is Composite Bonding Right for You?






” — covers this procedure in greater detail.

 

 

Crowns






— Unlike veneers, a



 



crown






covers the entire tooth down to the gumline. This requires the tooth to be significantly ground down, meaning that it can never again be without a crown. However, crowns may be the recommended solution — especially for those with damaged teeth — as they have the appearance of strong, healthy teeth and can last for 10 to 15 years with proper care.

 

Dental implants

— This is an important element of a smile makeover for those with a missing tooth for whom a bridge may not be an option. The prosthesis (tooth restoration) element of the implant will be fashioned to complement the other tooth restorations in shape, alignment, and color so it seamlessly matches and works harmoniously to create a complete aesthetic result.

 

Gum recontouring






— This procedure is performed to correct a gummy smile, which is caused by an excess of gum tissue covering the teeth. Our blog post — “



 



What is Gum Lengthening?






” — covers this topic in detail.

 

 

Teeth whitening






— This is an option for those who are generally pleased with the appearance of their teeth, but want to remove stains and brighten the color. Although many over-the-counter whitening kits are available, a



 



dental practice






will safely provide the best possible result — either with an in-office treatment or a take-home custom tray and whitening gel. We are proud to offer the



 



Zoom






and



 



Opalescence






brands of teeth whitening treatments.

 

 

As you may now be realizing, a smile makeover requires the dentist to have a strong sense of aesthetics as well as technical skills. There is no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach. Each makeover is individually designed according to the patient’s oral structure, facial structure, and shape — as well as other considerations.



 



Consumer Guide to Dentistry






provides the



 



following elements






that go into planning a smile makeover:

 

Tooth length

— Long teeth lend a youthful appearance. Aging produces wear and tear that often results in shorter teeth, and a gummy smile also can make teeth appear shorter. A treatment for shorter teeth may include reshaping and lengthening the two front central teeth with composite bonding or porcelain veneers. If you have a gummy smile, your cosmetic dentist may provide treatment to modify the gum line and lengthen the appearance of the teeth using laser dentistry procedures. You may also be referred to a periodontist for crown lengthening if necessary.

Teeth lengthening may also impact your overall facial appearance. For example, shapely, long, square teeth on a round-faced individual can provide a slimming effect.

Smile line

— The smile line is an imaginary line that follows the edges of your upper teeth from side to side, which ideally should be the same as the curve of your lower lip when you smile. This standard point of reference may be used to help determine how long your new teeth should be.

Tooth proportions

— Your cosmetic dentist will examine your teeth to determine if they are in correct proportion with each other. Most people recognize a pleasing smile as one in which the two central front teeth are dominant and have a width-to-length ratio of 4-to-5. This proportion guides the length and width of other teeth in the aesthetic zone so that the smile line appears balanced.

Tooth texture and characterization

— An artistic dentist can characterize your crowns or veneers to create a more feminine or a more masculine appearance, in addition to matching the look and feel of natural teeth.

How is a Smile Makeover Different from Full-Mouth Reconstruction?

 

Although there are similarities, full-mouth reconstruction is more intensive than a smile makeover. According to



 



The Smile Centre






, “While smile makeovers encompass a wide range of cosmetic dental procedures to improve the appearance of your smile, a full mouth reconstruction may include a smile makeover in addition to procedures that deal with jaw alignment and dental health issues. Full mouth reconstruction involves the combination of multiple restorative, neuromuscular and general dentistry dental procedures. The objective is to not only restore the aesthetic appearance of your smile but to also strengthen the structure and functionality of your teeth.

 

“Full mouth restorations are often crucial for a patient’s overall well-being due to the interconnected nature of oral health. For example, if you suffer from a chipped tooth, it can lead to problems with your bite. Bite issues can cause chewing difficulties, which in turn can lead to excess wear on other teeth. Misaligned bites are linked with a myriad of other issues, many of which are associated with problems such as headaches, jaw soreness, neck pain, and even poor posture.”

 

Depending upon your existing oral health conditions, treatment may be necessary before reconstruction procedures can begin.



 



Periodontal disease






or misaligned teeth that require



 



orthodontic treatment






will have to be addressed first.

 

How Long Should a Smile Makeover Last?

 

A smile makeover is an investment in yourself. According to



 



Dr. Micheal J. Wei, DDS






, “You want your investment to pay dividends, making you look younger, happier, and healthier. One of the worst situations a dental patient can experience is undergoing cosmetic or restorative dentistry, only to have those changes fail soon after.”

 

Dr. Wei provides the general lifespan of the following types of cosmetic dental restorations:

 

As with your overall oral health, you’ll get the most out of your smile makeover investment by regular visits to your dentist for an



 



examination and cleaning






— and maintain a consistent oral care regimen of brushing and flossing. Also, prevent damage to your teeth by wearing a mouthguard when playing sports or participating in physical recreational activities, as well as not chewing on hard food items (such as ice, hard candy, or popcorn kernels). Also, never use your teeth to tear things apart or open bottles! Scissors and bottle openers, respectively, are the appropriate tools. Being careless can damage restorations as well as teeth in their natural state.

 

The Take-Home Message

A smile makeover can boost your self-image and let you face the world with confidence! Choosing a dentist with the skill, experience, and artistic eye to create the perfect smile just for you is essential to achieving the best result.

 

 


24/7 Local Dentist






, 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 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.

 

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!

 

 

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.