Your initial consultation
Use your first visit to observer the standards in the dental practice and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as needed to make you feel safe and confident. Satisfy yourself that the general appearance of the reception/ waiting area, including the rest room, is to an acceptable standard of cleanliness and the dentist(s) and staff are neat and clean.
As part of your first visit, in addition to questions about your dental history, you should be asked about:
- Your general health and medical history;
- Whether you have suffered from serious illnesses in the past;
- Whether you suffer from a chronic medical condition;
- Details of any medication that you have been prescribed;
- Your smoking history;
- Your previous surgery and general anaesthetics history.
Be satisfied with the standards of hygiene in the surgery
There are comprehensive guidelines on infection control within dental surgeries that ALL registered dentists must obey. You should satisfy yourself that:
- The dentist uses an autoclave (a medical steriliser) to sterilise instruments;
- Gloves are worn by the dentist and his chair side staff at all times when you are under active treatment;
- New gloves are worn for each patient and that these are changed on their return if the treating staff leave the treatment area for any reason, such as taking a telephone call;
- Hand-pieces (drills) are sterilised;
- New injection needles are used for each patient;
- Sterilised single-use cooling solutions / water is used for surgical procedures;
- Staff wash their hands between patients;
- All surgery working surfaces are clean, with disposable covers used on surfaces touched during treatment
Your treatment plan and options
When discussing your proposed treatment with your dentist you should ask:
- What are your treatment options, what other choices do you have for some or all of the treatment suggested and how much will each option cost?
- What are the rates of success and / or complications associated with each of the options offered or suggested?
- Whether the dentist has references or testimonials from previous patients who have received this or similar treatment(s) including before and after photographs of treatment previously provided by that dentist?
- What happens if treatment is unsuccessful or you are unhappy with the result? If there are complications and further treatment is needed, is this an additional cost and who pays?
- Who do you contact for advice after treatment?
- Is there a complaints procedure in the practice and can you see it.
- Does the dentist have professional indemnity insurance cover?
- Does the dentist provide appropriate information in writing regarding aftercare?
The cost of your treatment
Before treatment is commenced you must know the cost (or best estimate) of the treatment and the way payment is to be made. Feel free to discuss this with your dentist before treatment. All dentists should be happy to discuss this with you, especially if you have any concerns in this regard.