It may seem like dentists are a dime a dozen; however, to promote the health of your teeth, it is important to find the right dentist. Unfortunately many dentists are not always what they seem, which is why patients should always look into their dentists’ history and education before sitting down in his or her chair.
A Disturbing Story Comes to Light
In January 2012, a Massachusetts dentist named Michael Clair was found guilty of Medicaid fraud for using bits of paperclips instead of stainless steel rods in root canals to “save money.” He received a variety of charges, not least of which included witness intimidation and illegally prescribing prescription drugs.
Clair was also accused of filing claims to Medicaid under other reputable dentists’ names for three years after having been suspended from Medicaid himself in 2002.
Clair may have caused many of his patients serious pain and infections with his risky shortcuts; and he is not the first nor the last dentist to have been caught in malpractice. To avoid getting caught up in a similar nightmare, learn how to spot a good, qualified dentist.
Profiles of Good, Qualified Dentists
If you are in need of cosmetic dentistry or other teeth-related procedures, you should seek help from a reputable dentist. First, take a look at the dentist’s educational background. Some dentists only have a dental school degree, while others have taken their education a step further and gained graduate degrees in specific areas that may be useful to you, such as cosmetic dentistry or sleep dentistry; as in the case of Dr. Mark Weiser, a sleep dentist based in Los Angeles, CA.
Dr. Weiser received his post-Doctoral education from LVI Global, one of the most comprehensive dental educational facilities in the world. Because of this continued education, Dr. Weiser is up-to-date on general dentistry practices as well as the more specialize field of sleep apnea-related dentistry. Dr. Weiser’s credentials put patients at ease, because they know he is qualified. Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that can lead to serious health problems, and many dentists don’t think to ask questions such as whether or not a patient has a snoring problem. It’s important to find a dentist who looks beyond whether or not you have a cavity.
If you have a specific illness or injury related to your mouth and teeth that has resulted in temporomandibular joint disorder, be sure to find a trained dental professional that is specialized in treating TMJ. Dr. Kevin Berry, a dentist based in Denver, CO, also received his education from LVI and knows how to treat severe TMJ, a disorder that commonly causes chronic headaches and back pain, jaw pain, bruxism and various other symptoms. Dr. Berry devotes his practice to the treatment of TMJ. When selecting a dentist for this type of problem, look for one with credentials similar to Dr. Berry’s and not just one who offers low rates.
Background, History, Education
When trying to find a dentist you can trust, consider the following:
- Experience: How long have they been practicing their craft?
- Patient Testimonials: Look at before and after pictures if you are going for a significant surgery, and ask friends and acquaintances if they are happy with their dentists.
- Education: Make sure their credentials, hopefully posted in plain sight, were signed by an accredited dental school.
- Office Environment: Does the dentist professional work in an office with other reputable colleagues?
- Personality: Make sure you get along with the dentist.
- Price: Is the price of your treatment or dental visit worth the educational background and general feeling you get from the office?
- Procedures Offered: Check with your dentist to see if he or she uses up-to-date technology.
Although important, comfort and price are only parts of the equation, when it comes to selecting the right dentist. Be sure to research your dentist to find out if he or she is qualified to treat your specific problem; and don’t be afraid to ask questions. In the end, you are paying the dentist to treat you and should expect him or her to be open and honest and willing to take the time to address your concerns.
Shanna Laub writes for Off-Topic Media. Special thanks to Dr. Kevin Berry and Dr. Mark Weiser for providing their credentials and contributing to this story.