Choosing an Oral Surgeon
Have you ever gone to the post office and been asked how you would like your package sent? Will it be express, first-class, or standard delivery? If you consider the package to be low priority, most of us will say “whichever is cheapest.”
You may take a different approach when it comes to your health.
Would you look for the cheapest cardiac surgeon if you needed open heart surgery? Or, pick the cheapest ophthalmologist if you needed eye surgery? In the same way, “cheap” should not be the first thing on your mind when looking for an oral surgeon to extract your child’s wisdom teeth or to place your dental implant.
When it comes to our health, most of us are less concerned about dollars and more concerned about having the best surgeon possible to avoid complications. That seems obvious when talking about your heart or eyes, and it’s just as important when it comes to dental surgery.
A poorly managed wisdom tooth extraction could result in all sorts of problems like nerve damage, serious infection or weeks of post-operative pain. And, a poorly planned dental implant placement could result in the same. Cost should be less of a concern, and finding the “best man for the job” should be your top priority!
What should you look for when deciding which oral surgeon to use?
First and foremost, find a doctor who is caring and competent. Your doctor should thoughtfully explain your procedure ahead of time, expertly perform your procedure and give you thorough care post-operatively.
Visit the state licensing board website to verify that an oral surgeon you’re considering has an active state license without sanctions. Contact friends and family and ask them to share any experiences they’ve had with local oral surgeons. Searching social media sites and online doctor ratings may be helpful, but be careful about placing too much stock in anonymous reviews. You never know the motive! Finally, form your own opinion by visiting a few different oral surgeons for consultations until you find someone you’re comfortable with.
While cost should not be your first priority, it is always a factor, so find out what your oral surgeon offers to make care affordable. Understand that dental insurance works differently than medical insurance. With most medical insurance, you pay your yearly deductible and any additional costs incurred are paid in full by your insurer for the rest of that year. That’s not the way dental insurance works. Dental insurance works more like a coupon, and that coupon becomes harder and harder to use every year!
In most instances, dental insurance reimburses you a percentage of the care you’re provided up to a maximum amount (i.e. $1,000 or $2,000) yearly, regardless of which dentist you see. Any additional costs incurred by you for the rest of the year are not covered at all by your dental insurance… YOU are responsible. And every year more restrictions are placed by dental insurance companies on how you can use your benefits.
Therefore, more important than finding a doctor who is “in-network” with your dental insurance, is finding a doctor who’ll make your care affordable. Most Americans can’t afford to pay cash for the house they live in or for the car they drive. How do they do it? Financing. With the many no-interest and low-interest financing options available today, money doesn’t have to be a barrier to getting care from a doctor you trust. Even if you have poor credit, there are ways oral surgeons can make their care affordable for you through the many different financing options.
We all want a doctor who will treat us or our loved ones as though we were a family member. We want a surgeon who will take the time to see us as a person. We don’t want someone who works cheap – that usually means they work hastily. Hastiness can lead to oversights that lead to complications. Instead, we want someone who isn’t concerned with the time clock nearly as much as he’s concerned with his patient.
Find an oral surgeon who will care for you (or a loved one) before, during and after your surgery. Make sure that he is someone who will take care of the whole you, not just your teeth!