Patients have a ton of options these days when it comes to healthcare, particularly dental care. So how does an individual choose a healthcare provider, practice, or clinic? Is it better to find a large corporate group practice or support the solo practitioner?
I recently made my way into the small business world a little over a month ago when Kansas Dental Center opened its doors. People ask me why I would do this, why take the risk, and my answer is likely similar to other small business owners out there: freedom. In my case, specifically gaining the freedom to practice the way I believe in and to deliver the level of care I believe everyone deserves. In a healthcare environment that is rapidly being consolidated and streamlined with technology and corporate models, one needs to step back and make sure we are leading with ethics and compassion rather than data and quotas. For me, this meant I had to get away from corporate dentistry and start something new, but does this mean that smaller is always better? Well, sometimes. It's definitely easier for a smaller scale clinic to ensure quality from the front desk all the way back to the dental chair and beyond, but ultimately, it is important to invest in someone you trust and an environment you feel comfortable in.
If you're looking for a dentist, find one that likes dentistry. Sounds weird right, but sadly some dentists don't. A good clinician will spend the time with you to get the job done right, will enjoy what they do, and explain to you what they are doing. Sometimes a little nerdy might just be better. My advice is to observe the little things. Does the staff seem happy? Additionally, ultra-fast dentistry is not always good dentistry. Appropriate dental cleanings should not take only 10 minutes. I had a patient the other day say that I was the first dentist ever to clean her back teeth! If your dentist or hygienist is not caring for EVERY tooth in your mouth, it's a good time to find the door. It's all about balance - being efficient (yes we know no one loves hanging out in the dental chair all day), while being thorough and being compassionate. Find someone you can trust and the investment in yourself will pay off.
Anthony J. Papinsick, DMD