When you’re new in town or happen to be up at night battling a painful toothache, one of the first things many of us find ourselves doing is an internet search for “best dentist near me.” While that may suffice during our immediate times of need, I often caution that a quick internet search may not be the best long term solution to finding your new dental home. To find your best long term fit, what you should really be searching for is the best dentist for you.
It’s an important distinction I always emphasize not only for our oral healthcare needs but also for everyone’s overall health and wellbeing. Having a dental home allows you to feel comfortable when you’re dropping in for a regular visit and gives you a safe and trusted place to turn for any type of dental treatment you may require. But how can we determine who’s the best dentist for you?
As a practicing oral healthcare provider, it’s a question I continuously ponder in my pursuit of providing not only the best clinical care to my patients, but the best overall experience. What I’ve learned most from my experiences throughout the course of my career is how a patient experiences the culture of a practice will have an overwhelming impact on their oral health.
When searching for the best dental fit for you and your family, it’s important to gauge the following core principles of any practice:
Whether it may be spelled out or not, every office and every dental team has a culture and philosophy they implement. It starts from the moment you walk through the door. Are you greeted with a smile? How does the dentist and his team make you feel throughout each and every one of your experiences throughout the treatment process?
At Gold Coast Smiles, our number one priority alongside patient safety and well being is to get to know each and every one of our patients on an individual basis. It’s of the utmost importance that our patients feel that they are not only treated as, but are valued as individuals with their own unique set of characteristics. We take our time getting to know all of our patients, that way we can know how to best treat them, make them feel comfortable throughout the treatment process and really understand their concerns and goals. It’s at the core of how we operate on a daily basis at Gold Coast Smiles.
Placing your trust in a dentist to ensure that you are receiving quality dental care is an obvious critical factor in everyone’s decision making. Trusting that your dental office practices with integrity in all aspects of patient care is also important for your ongoing care. Does your dentist provide you with the opportunity to promote, when applicable, thorough discussions regarding treatment options that are available to you instead of limiting your choices of treatment? Will the practice work with you or provide you with reasonable and equitable financial arrangements to help address the cost of treatment in order to help ensure that you receive the best treatment possible that you desire?
Whether it’s financial related concerns, apprehension about dental treatment in general or just finding the right time to pursue your oral healthcare goals, we understand that receiving quality comprehensive dental care can be challenging from many standpoints. It is part of our commitment to overall excellence that we strive to make treatment as feasible in any manner possible, including creating custom tailored treatment plans that addresses each individual’s priorities and needs while taking any financial considerations necessary into account.
At the end of the day, it is our duty as responsible oral healthcare providers to find a way to work with anyone who is seeking quality comprehensive dental treatment under our care.
With the rise of the internet and the many advances we are seeing with technology over the last decade, an argument can be made that the world has become more commoditized. Never before have so many products been so readily available and never before has competition in the marketplace been so fierce. Interestingly enough, this new convenience is not just limited to the sale of goods, services are now being delivered more efficiently and cheaply as well.
Many people consider dental care to be a commodity when it should be considered in terms of the actual service rendered. For example, I would consider products like cars or electronics to be commodities. There are certainly several options when it comes to makes and models but you can at least compare the same exact product offered by two different stores. While some locations may provide superior customer service or better financing options, at the end of the day the product itself is still exactly the same at either location.
The same cannot be said of dentistry. There are huge variations in terms of the dentist’s technical skills, training, experience, technology available, philosophy, materials used and laboratories utilized. There are a tremendous number of details that go into providing any phase of dental service, and these details (more importantly the results) are never going to be identical from one dentist to another.
Your objective should be to receive quality care at a reasonable value commensurate with the care you are receiving than it is to receive an inexpensive service that might not stand the test of time or can lead to more costly and complex treatment later. We believe quality in dentistry means providing the treatment the patient needs when the patient needs it, in an affordable, safe and effective manner. At Gold Coast Smiles quality dental care also means engaging and involving the patient, so the patient takes ownership and has a sense of involvement in the decision making involved in the treatment of their oral healthcare. It is a collaborative effort that involves the patient, myself (the dentist), any applicable supportive staff (hygienists or business team members) and in many instances the patient’s family when necessary.
The more anxious you are about dental treatment, the more unpleasant the visit will likely be. That’s why a dentist’s chairside manner is so crucial to a positive overall experience. A successful dental professional should have well developed listening skills to take the time and listen to what the patient has to say. Every effort should be made to get to know the patient on an individual basis, understand their concerns and formulate a plan on how to make each and every one of their visits most comfortable and less anxiety provoking.
Yes, your dentist can administer drugs to ease pain and anxiety, but we find that we have the most success when we simply talk to and help our patients. Simple things such as walking the patient through each step of the process involved, describing what will be felt prior to starting any treatment or just putting their favorite TV station on can go a long way to provide a more pleasant experience. Our entire team at Gold Coast Smiles understands that an important part of their job is to help our patients leave the office with a positive experience. This means we take an interest whenever someone shares any personal news or opinions, and if they have problems being a good listener can help them feel they matter. They’re a person, not just a set of teeth and gums that require repair. Connecting with our patients will help them remember their visit with a smile and a willingness to return again down the load instead of neglecting any care they may require.
Choose Your Best Long term Partner
Above all, you want to choose a dentist who can be a part of your total health care team. So much of your oral health can have a significant impact on your overall health and well being. Look for someone who is not only a great practitioner, but also an approachable coach to motivate you, an advisor to consult with when health issues arise and a trusted partner to make dental care decisions with.
"Dr. Sami is simply awesome. In my opinion, he is the best dentist on Long Island - caring, gentle, dexterous, and technically sophisticated with a state-of-the-art dental office. Moreover, he has a very helpful, friendly staff. His sense of humor and skilled techniques make for near painless dentistry. Recently I visited my periodontist for a checkup and he commented on how Dr. Sammi's crowns were a perfect match and fit. Another strong reason to use Dr. Sami is his total dedication to patients. For example, my wife had completed a root canal shortly before the Covid shutdowns and it looked like she wouldn't be able to get her permanent crown installed before the Covid lock-down. Dr. Sami' went out of his way to squeeze in an emergency visit for her. Within less than 2 hours she walked out smiling with a perfectly fitting crown! It sure helps speed things up when you have a great dentist with an advanced dental crown milling machine to fabricate crowns in-house."
"Our dentist retired so we were hesitant, but we should have known he would find us the best dentist in the area. Everyone at Dr. Sami's is so friendly, patient, caring and they do a great job! The office is well run, it's very clean, they run on time, and they are very courteous and professional. Dr. Sami and the whole crew are the best!"