#26 – Gary Takacs – The 3 Most Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Dentist

  • Most Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Dentist

with Gary Takacs from The Thriving Dentist Podcast

Last year I had the pleasure of attending the Voices of Dentistry Podcasting Summit and was delighted to sit down and spend some time with the one and only Gary Takacs.

Gary is a seasoned podcaster, consultant, educator, and all around great guy! To date, he has consulted over 2,200 dental offices, and has interviewed over 250 guests on his podcast; I guess you can say he’s a someone who knows what successful dental professionals looks like!

I wanted to pick Gary’s brain about what questions a person should ask themselves when they are faced with choosing a dentist and dental office.  Needless to say, Gary sees enough dentists to know what it takes in making a good choice when looking for a dental home that fits your needs.

He recommends that you ask yourself the following questions after you visit the office for your initial exam:

  1. Did the doctor ask what my interests and concerns were, and did the office listen to my wants and needs? Ask yourself, “are they interested in my goals for my oral health, or are they interested in their goals for my oral health”? It would be nice to hear the office gather information by asking something like “what brings you here today?”
  2. Did you feel like you were getting the attention of the staff instead of a feeling like a number?
  3. What was the interaction between the dentist and the other team members like? Does the staff seem gracious to be there, and are the team members supportive to one another? Do they seem to want to be around each other?

If you can feel the tension in the air, that may be a clue to keep looking.

We begin our conversation by talking about the importance of putting yourself (if you are a clinician) in a position of being fearful so that you can see from the mind/eyes of the patient.  And, with each new patient exam recognize the courage it took for that patient to simply come and visit your office.

He explains that fear is real.  It may be irrational, but it is real.  Gary shares a story of how his office Life Smiles helped a patient overcome fear in such a way that helped her get on the path of oral health.

We talk about oral-systemics, and how Gary interviewed Dr’s Bradley Bale and Tom Larkin earlier that weekend at the Voices of Dentistry Podcasting Summit. Dr. Bale recently published findings in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) proving that periodontal disease is a contributing cause of cardiovascular disease.

He gives a great analogy to smoking in the 60’s.
In the 60’s it was “thought” that smoking perhaps was linked to lung cancer, now we know that it’s a cause. Gary (like me), is a true believer in the Oral Systemic connection which is what makes him so excited about the profession of dentistry and how it has the ability to change lives!

He goes on to say you have to be an advocate for yourself and take action for yourself if you feel that you are not being taken care of.  It’s okay to say, I just don’t think that we are a good fit in order to find someone that fits your needs and wants.

Another good way to find a dentist is to ask likeminded friends.

Make sure to ask them who they see and what they have learned from them? It’s not enough if their dentist is just a “nice guy”.

Look at the office website. Is content updated regularly? Do they have an active Facebook page? What is the interaction with patients, and what are the existing patients saying about the office?

What type of new technology do they have? Are they investing in tools that help you get and stay healthy? Are they helping you identify the link between the health of your gums and the rest of your body? Do they offer any testing to help you understand your risks?

These are the things you want to pay attention to if you are looking for an office to put your trust in when it comes to the oral health of yourself and your family.

Gary and I twist and turn through some very cool stories about dentistry and he talks about the dentist in a faraway land that gets to listen to his podcast as a way of learning about becoming a better dentist. Prior to finding his podcast, he was traveling for 2 days to attend a continuing education course!

What a great way to make an impact on the world!!

Gary was gracious enough give some amazing insights about dentistry in general through his colorful story telling. A true master at his craft, Gary’s positivity and message made interviewing him a moment I won’t soon forget, and I hope you enjoy it too!

It’s not an episode that should be missed, and I hope it helps you find the dentist of your dreams and desires! Thank you, Gary, for taking the time to sit down with me, and thank you for helping empower our listeners in making a great decision when choosing a dental office to call home!

Links to topics discussed:

Gary interviews Bradley Bale MD & Tom Larkin DDS on Integration of Medicine and Dentistry

Whoopy Goldberg talks gum disease she was suffering with that could have been prevented.

Life Smiles Dental Care  – Phoenix, AZ, Scottsdale, AZ

Dr Kim Kutsch – managing cavities and genetics


3D cone beam technology vs x-rays

Connect with Gary Takacs

Life Smiles Dental Care  – Phoenix, AZ, Scottsdale, AZ

Gary’s website

The Thriving Dentist Podcast

Gary’s Favorite Quote:

“Change is difficult. However, the alternative is absolute obsolescence.”


About the Author:

Carrie is a dental hygienist, oral health coach and creator of Oral Health Coaching, an online course that teaches you how to care for your mouth with life long results.  Her daily “bite-size” pieces to understanding what it takes to achieve a healthy mouth make it easy to learn and implement at home. Carrie owns and operates CarrieIbbetson.com, where she studies and recommends natural oral health care products that are effective and deliver great results.  She helps families all over the world via Skype, and works locally in person as well as an oral health coach, a personal trainer for your mouth.  She is happy to consult with anyone who may have questions. Come say hello on , Facebook and Twitter.

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