In January 2016, Courissa Clark took her daughter Nevaeh Hall to Dr. Bethaniel Jefferson at a dental office in Houston to have a tooth pulled.
But the supposedly simple tooth extraction led to a permanent brain damage to the 4-year-old Hall.
“Her life was taken away from her,” said Clark in an interview with Click 2 Houston.
In a report by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, it was found that Jefferson gave the child too many sedatives and other drugs that resulted in a seizure and dropping of Hall’s oxygen levels.
It added that Hall’s brain suffered a severe lack of oxygen for five hours as Jefferson did not contact medical assistance immediately.
Jefferson’s license was permanently revoked in December 2016. She is now facing criminal charges that can lead to a sentence of five years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Unfortunately, accidents in the healthcare industry do occur more than what people desire. In turn, this makes the burden of responsibility heavy on the practitioners to react appropriately and seek the help of higher level medical care providers when situations have gone beyond their capacities.
On the other hand, patients are also advised to take extra attention in choosing their dentists and other medical providers because health and life are on the line.
How can I find the right dentist?
To find the best dentist for you, here are some recommended steps you should take to ensure that you are on the right track:
Step #1: Contemplate your dental needs
Before starting the search, it is fundamental to identify the underlying criteria that are most valuable to you as a patient which may include the location, the type of dentist, and insurance coverage accepted.
Choose a dentist whose dental clinic is located close to your current place, home, school, or workplace as it will be more convenient to visit for dental appointments.
Type of Dentist
There are different types of dentist based on his or her expertise. Think though what kind of dentist you will be needing to better match your dental needs. For instance, if you want a dentist for your child’s oral care, you need to look for a pediatric dentist which specializes in child dental care.
Check if the dental office accepts your insurance or dental plan or offers flexible financing options you can opt for to reduce the cost of your dental treatments. Moreover, look through the conditions, options, and restrictions of your insurance coverage before availing any treatment in order to prepare for the expenses well.
Step #2: Ask around
Consider soliciting referrals from members of the family, close buddies, or colleagues. These people may know a good dentist who they have dealt with for several years. As always, it is imperative to double-check their credentials as well as reputation.
Check for patient reviews on Yelp or another review site to get a better feel on what kind of dental professionals they are and the kind of services they give their patients.
Step #3: Visit the dental office
Most dental practices have websites to supplement their practice. Visit their website to see the services they offer. try to visit the dental office as well to observe and see for yourself how they conduct their services.
What characteristics should I look for in a dentist?
Your dentist must know what they are doing because health is sensitive, and a simple mistake may lead to a bigger problem. It is crucial that your dentist is licensed to be a dentist, and it is very vital that they can apply their training and knowledge in dentistry outside of dental school correctly. He should be able to point out the problem and come up with the best possible measure to address your dental needs.
Willingness to learn
Since your dentist left dental school, improvements in dentistry must have taken place. Thus, pursuing continuing education opportunities is recommended or required for dental professionals. Seeking these possibilities is imperative to be kept informed of the most up-to-date research that can be helpful in his patient’s dental needs.
Carefulness and a gentle touch
Most people dread paying the dentist a visit. Your dentist’s approach must be with friendliness, understanding that it may be tough for his patient. The mouth can be sensitive, so your dentists must execute all dental procedures with a gentle touch. Being careful on the job is also important in ensuring procedures are correctly done.
Cleanliness must be practiced at all times, especially in the healthcare industry to avoid complications. Your dentist, being a medical practitioner, must be clean and an advocate of the importance of hygiene in our health.
Your dentist must be attentive to the concerns of their patients and involve them in deciding the course of action. They must also lay out options and explain to patients the pros and cons of each.
However, these traits may be difficult to know or find when you haven’t found your dentist. So, how will you tell if he or she is the right choice to leave your dental health to?
What does the American Dental Association recommend?
- Ask a local pharmacist or a family doctor.
- Ask colleagues, neighbors, friends and loved ones.
- Get in touch with a state or local dental society.
- Go online to check social media sites and websites.
- Call dental offices.
Do not hesitate to ask questions. Research thoroughly on the dentist before making a decision.
Aside from having the best dentist to care for your teeth, it is important that the dental clinic is well-equipped, sanitary, offers almost if not all dental treatments, and has accommodating staff.
Where can I find the best dentist?
Hawaii Family Dental is home to Honolulu Magazine-recognized best dentists. Our dentists are trusted experts and highly recommended by their patients.
Moreover, our dental offices are located in 12 locations all over Hawaii and open at convenient weekday and weekend hours. We are also the only dental practice in the state that offers all dental specialties for each of your dental needs.
Give us a call today to schedule your appointment!
Date Published: June 30, 2017
Last Updated: February 16, 2019