A multiple-part blog on what to look for in a dentist, by Daniel Radu DMD – August 2016
If you missed the first part, be sure to check it out!
In the last blog, I discussed what good dentistry should feel like for you, the patient.
I’d like to emphasize – it’s a feeling. You don’t know if your crown was drilled to a 1.0mm margin circumferentially, with axial reductions of 1.5-2.0mm and a parallelism of 6°-10° taper with proper occlusal reduction. You just feel like you had a good experience in the chair, you were numb, your bite feels fine, and hey, it’s been a few years and the crown is still on! Again, this is where trust became a substitute for knowledge. You trusted your dentist to be doing the right dentistry.
So let’s continue with the discussion of what to look for in a dentist, and what things I believe can instill trust and help you feel confident with your dentist.
The Dentist’s Side - Technology
We live in a time where technological advancement in every field has exploded, and dentistry is no different. The addition of new technology can tell you two major things about a dentist. First, it means they are looking for ways to improve their dentistry for their patients. But secondly, and this is the more important point in my mind, new technology can show that the dentist has a passion for his or her field. It is very easy for a dentist to ‘sit in neutral’ and coast through, year by year, in a routine that they’ve developed. A routine is not necessarily a bad thing – good dentistry can exist within routine, as it’s tried and tested over the years. But stepping out of the comfort zone of what a dentist has done for 20+ years can have some real benefits.
Change is scary, as we all know. It’s human nature to create a regular pattern in our lives. But I believe a sign of a dentist having passion for their profession is that the dentist is willing to take risk (any new technology has an inherent risk of the unknown and financial risk), push the boundaries of what they’re accustomed to, and reinvigorate the office by injecting some change into their natural routine.
The Dentist’s Side - Continuing Education Courses
Dentists are required about 30 hours of continuing education courses every 2 years (15 hours/year). This is a rather low bar, and is fairly easy to reach (you can even take online courses to earn them). CE (continuing education) courses can range from attending lectures at huge dental conferences that run each year to small group classes regarding any subject, from implants to business management courses.
Dentistry is a continuously evolving field, and it’s important to keep up with changes. But more importantly, taking courses (beyond just looking to fulfill the requirements) is looking to improve as a dentist and shows a thirst for knowledge. My father, Dr. Michael Radu, actually gives his own continuing education courses to groups of dentists, where he gets to follow his passion for teaching (and if you’re wondering, yes, he gets CE hours for his own lectures as well!). This is all in addition to our regular trips to the Chicago Midwinter Meeting every February, and courses with renowned dentist speakers such as Frank Spear, Carl Misch, Mark Piper, and more.
In the next and last part in this series of blogs, I'll go into a few last things to look for in your dentist.