When it comes to your health, it’s important to have the right professionals on your team. Traverse City dentist Dr. Philip Yancho shares ten things to look for when shopping for a dentist, originally published in the Medical Insider within the November 2015 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.

When looking for a dental home, what would a practicing dentist look for if he or she needed dental care in this age of high technology? Here is a 10-point checklist—technologies and practices that I would require of my dentist for me to be confident that he or she was offering state-of-the-art care.

As a first step, ask for a meet-and-greet with your dentist and go over this list. The meeting should be offered at no charge. That meeting will also give you a chance to see if you feel the personalities of the dentist and staff and general philosophy are a good fit for you and your family.

Magnification Loupes

That which you cannot see, you cannot find nor fix. 2.5X or greater loupes opens up a new world to your dentist.

Rubber Dam

It makes the job of doing a filling or crown much easier for a dentist, and leads to improved quality.

Buffered Anesthetic/Onset from Onpharma

This new technology makes it painless to get an injection. onpharma.com.

Modern Facility that is Clean and Neat

The great dental leader Dr. Pete Dawson said, and I paraphrase, “A sloppy, unkempt and disorderly appearance to the office or team is not suggestive of sloppy quality, it is proof of it.”

One Day Permanent Crown (CEREC)

CEREC crowns are digitally made, fit extremely well and have no need for a second visit or second numbing. Additionally, patients have less post-operative discomfort and the crowns fit as well or better than a laboratory-fabricated crown. cereconline.com or onevisitdentist.net.

Diagnodent Laser Decay Detection

This laser detects tooth decay long before your dentist would be able to otherwise. A dentist can find only 60 percent of tooth decay in a visual inspection. With a laser he or she can find 90 percent or more. A smaller, earlier-detected filling means less cost, less tooth destruction, and a longer lasting filling! kavousa.com/US/DIAGNOdent/DIAGNOdent-Dentists.aspx.

Digital Radiograph

Emitting up to 80 percent less radiation than traditional X-ray systems, digital radiographs are safer and are as good or better than traditional film systems.

Saliva Testing/Ultrasonic Cleaning

This is DNA diagnostic testing of your saliva for periodontal (gum) pathogens. Your saliva can tell your dentist about your risk for developing severe periodontitis, and reveal if you require antibiotics as an adjunct in treatment. Ultrasonic scalers are proven to destroy the biofilm that causes periodontitis, and will give you a better outcome from your gum treatments and cleanings. myoraldna.com.

Caries Stain

This dye sticks only to decayed areas of your tooth. The dentist knows when to stop drilling when the stain no longer sticks to the tooth, helping preserve as much “good” tooth as possible.

Top Quality Materials/Lab

Does your dentist buy the cheapest materials from China, or does he or she research the products available and only buy the best? The dental lab makes a difference too. Ask to see sample photographs of the work done, and have the dentist show you what a great-fitting crown looks like on a radiograph.

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