Five Qualities of a Great Dentist

Category: Dr. Advocate's Insights

Dr Advocate Avatar IconBy: Dr. Advocate
Updated: August 25, 2022

Finding A Great Dentist | Five Qualities of a Great Dentist | female dentist standing in her dentist office

Choosing the right dentist can be daunting. Patients have a lot to consider, including practice location, insurance, dentist availability, and patient experience. The patient experience is critical in the evaluation process. How easy is it to schedule an appointment? Is the receptionist friendly?

A dentist may be skilled; however, if they cannot communicate effectively and help their patients feel comfortable, the quality of treatment may be affected. Dentists with excellent chairside manners are easy to talk to, engaging, and interested in your concerns.

As you seek out your next dental practice, consider these five qualities of a great dentist.

The dentist may be skilled, however, if they’re unable to communicate effectively and help their patients feel comfortable, the quality of treatment may be affected. Dentists with great chairside manners are easy to talk to, engaging and interested in your concerns. As you seek out your next dental practice consider these five qualities of a great dentist.

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1. Engaging

A dentist skilled at patient engagement will actively listen when patients express concerns and have an open dialogue about suggested treatments. As you think about whether a dentist is a good fit for you, consider these questions: How receptive is the dentist to your concerns? Is your chief complaint being addressed? Are they interested in your well-being? If a dentist fails to address your primary concerns, it may not be a great fit. On the other hand, if they are empathetic about your oral health and care about your circumstances, you’ll likely be a happy and healthy patient.

Dentists can also convey care by inquiring about your life. Of course, most people are happy to share their job, kids, or plans for the day. However, these topics can also provide insight into your overall health care for a caring and intuitive dentist. What’s more, your relationship with your dentist can grow as they get to know you and recalls these details during your next appointment!


2. Patient

Dentistry can be stressful for both the patient and the dentist. Dentists have to manage their dental team and business priorities and their hands-on work. How do they interact with their team members? Are they kind, receptive, and selfless? Are the team members visibly frustrated?

Team culture begins with the dentist.

If the dentist is patient and calm, it will translate to a relaxed and comfortable experience for the patient. A positive atmosphere ensures the patient is the priority. The patient’s trust is created through engagement, attentiveness, and patience.


3. Methodical

Oral health care eliminates bacteria, prevents disease, and manages dental concerns. However, dental issues and the plan of action are rarely cut and dry. Many factors contribute to a patient’s treatment plan, including cavity risk, treatment urgency, and the patient’s commitment to oral health.

A great dentist is methodical during the treatment planning process.

For example, are the gums and the bone, the foundation for the teeth, a priority for the dentist? The dentist should be able to detail, explain and justify each step, then methodically and carefully carry out the treatment.


4. Trustworthy

Going to the dentist is similar to taking your car into the shop, where a mechanic evaluates your vehicle and then presents the planned repairs. Unable to see the issues, you may feel forced to decide based on their recommendations. In the same way, you must trust your dentist to advise you accordingly, believing that they have your best interests in mind.

Unfortunately, there can be corruption and deception in all industries, and dentistry is no exception. Therefore, before committing to any dental treatment, ask for a visual presentation of the existing problems.


5. Detailed

Attention to detail often correlates with good dentistry. Dentists that are detail-oriented care about their work and seek to restore failing teeth. As a result, most dentists who possess this trait are patient and methodical. However, dental treatment requires precision and exceptional hand skills, as standards are measured in millimeters. Does the dentist care about the shade of the crown? Are they willing to send it back to the lab even if it is inconvenient for the patient?

Dental work is all about the details, especially as the product may be affixed to you for years!

Recommended Reading: Best Dental Pearls of Wisdom | Part 1


Final thoughts

Many great dentists don’t exhibit the qualities listed above. Some patients may prefer a confident and firm clinician with their recommendations, while others may prefer a clinician offering multiple treatment options. Find a dentist that suits your beliefs and become a patient for life.


The more you know, the more healthy habits you can develop – saving you and your family from avoidable and potentially expensive dental procedures. Talk to your dental professional for more suggestions on improving oral health and check back for more blog posts and relevant information. Please share this site and let us know what else you’d like to know!




Dr Advocate Avatar IconAbout the Author

Dr. Advocate is an actual board-certified dentist with clinical practice experience and a mission to provide accurate dental patient education. He believes everyone should access easy-to-read dental resources presented in layman’s terms with relevant, up-to-date dental research and insight to improve their oral health.