TAKE A QUIZ: Is Your Dentist “Thoroughly Modern”?








Last week I was engaged in the AACD’s Fall Board Meetings in which we plan educational content for the Academy over the next 12-36 months. It is very inspiring sitting with dentists from all over the world and exchanging ideas on how to treat patients with the highest levels of excellence, but also how to teach that to other dental teams.

Always the thinker and a consumer advocate, I was reminded of a quiz I had recently seen on Helaine Smith’s Blog about “Is Your Dentist A Modern Dentist?”

As a result, at the meeting, I started an informal survey of not just best practices, but better practices to best serve patients and then combined it with Dr. Smith’s version. So here it is:

Give a “zero” for each “no” answer and a “one” for each “yes” answer.

1. Does your dentist have a clean office?

2. Does he/she take at least 30 hours of continuing education per year?

3. Does he/she have modern equipment such as digital radiographs (xrays) and paperless charting (digital charts)?

4. Does your dentist discuss implants as an option to missing teeth?

5. Is he/she involved with a study group?

6. Does he/she or the hygienist use a periodontal probe to measure your gums to evaluate the health of your gum tissue?

7. Does he/she offer an oral cancer screening test using a light?

8. Does he/she offer sedation for procedures to reduce anxiety?

9. Does he/she use ultra-modern reinforced ceramic restorations?

10. Does he/she use non-metal fillings?

11. Does he/she consistently use magnification with illumination to check your teeth and/or treat them?

12. Does he/she use a laser to check natural teeth for decay or cracks?

13. Is there an intra-oral camera available to monitor the status of old fillings and other dental conditions?

14. Does he/she understand the new theories and research on tooth decay?

15. When treating teeth, are cavity detection dyes used to remove only decay and preserve tooth structure?

16. If he/she says they are a cosmetic dentist, has a recent course about it been taken?

17. Does he/she have photos of their own work to show?

18. Is your bite checked to help avoid cracks in your teeth, chips on the edges, or increased muscle tension?

19. Does he/ she keep you informed about the connection between dental problems ( e.g. gum disease) and the rest of the body?

20. Does he/ she do a panoramic xray every 3-5 years to check for cysts, etc. that are normally not found on “checkup xrays”?

Rate your Dentist
15 – 20 — Your Modern dentist is Jetson-like. Good job!
10 – 14 — Your dentist could definitely improve some things. Just ask.
0 – 9— Your dentist may be working in the Flintstone-era.

Hope this helps keep your dental health and it’s care at it’s finest. As always, I look forward to your comments.

Keep smiling right.


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Posted in: Mouth Body Connection


  1. Those are great questions to ask. As a patient,it is important to stay informed and know that your doctor has your best interest in mind.

    Comment by Tracey on November 3, 2009 at 4:44 am

  2. Working for “Dr. Jetson” makes me proud…keep up the good job Dr.Flax! I wish all of my medical providers could meet your standards.

    Comment by Edi Sprouse on November 3, 2009 at 7:59 am

  3. I am very proud to say I work for a dentist that is very well educated and does more then just 30 hrs of continuing education per year…and that his staff is well educated.

    Going to the dentist is more then just sitting in the chair and receiving treatment.
    Some of our patients have anxiety issues and have lots of questions. I can say that it’s nice working for a dentist that has the latest technology and knowledge to be able to explain in simple detail for our patient’s to understand. Not only that, we can show them decay, leakage around old fillings, cracks, fractures, etc…through photo’s & intra-oral camera.

    As a patient myself, these are some of the questions and things I would look for.

    Keep up the good work Dr. Flax, your definetly a JETSON-LIKE…

    Comment by Annette on November 8, 2009 at 7:30 pm

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