By Dr. Natalie Ann Amann

Pretty much everyone knows that seeing a dentist regularly is important to good overall oral health. However, most people do not know how to choose a dentist. How can you know if they are a good dentist or not? However, what you need to know is that there are two main considerations that will affect your choice — how a dentist treats you as a person and how he or she treats your mouth. The following are some questions to ask yourself or your dentist, good answers indicate a good dentist.

1. What is the dentist’s philosophy for performing dentistry?

Knowing the philosophy of your dentist is going to help you know if your philosophies match. So ask questions like:

–What determines your choice of putting in a crown rather than a filling?

–What standards do you have in regard to pulling a tooth?


–When do you decide to refer a patient to a specialist?

Part of a dentist’s job is to educate you, their patient about how they make their choices.

2. What continuing education has the dentist had within the past year?

Dental procedures change, new technology and better methods are developed. You should choose a dentist that is dedicated to keep up with the latest developments in their field. So, ask your dentist what continuing education they have had, and if they have not had any, ask why. Knowing the extra courses and training they have gotten can make you feel very comfortable with them.

3. Have you been treated with respect and concern?

While the skill of the dentist is important, so is using a dentist that respects your wishes, and treats you with respect. You’re not a tooth with a problem, you’re a person with teeth, so make sure you are treated that way, no matter how good or bad your teeth are. A good dentist will ask you questions about your needs and ask if you have any special fears or concerns, they will help you overcome fears, and they will make you feel important and respected, not just a means to an ends.

4. Did the dentist discuss with you a treatment plan, and get your input, or simply tell you how it is?

Rather than just telling you what to do, and then get started, he or she should explain the results of the exam, show you photos, etc. and work with you to develop a total treatment plan based on the big picture of your oral health and wellness. Each step, including cost and time period should be discussed, and the two of you should decide what you can afford, what is most important, what must be treated right away, and what can wait. A plan that is patient driven, not insurance driven is important. Remember, you want a dentist who can offer enough information to help you make an informed decision.

5. Does the dentist ask for a complete medical history?

Your detailed medical history will be important for many reasons including determining allergies and possible drug interactions or intolerances.

This should be routine at your initial exam and then followed up at every cleaning appointment. Your dentist needs to look not only at your teeth, but your entire mouth.

About the Author: Dr. Natalie Ann Amann, DDS, is a leading King of Prussia dentist. Dr. Amann and the King of Prussia Smile Center specialize in Smile Makeovers, Dental Implants and Sedation Dentistry. Visit the

or call (610) 265-3939.


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