Italian dentists form a category which benefits from a great reputation in Italy and across the world in terms of professionalism. Despite this – and perhaps owing to these high standards and this high degree of “competition” – the choice of dentist to rely on always remains a delicate issue. The patient has little time (generally a check-up) to best assess the degree of professionalism of the dentist before choosing which one will provide treatment. This is why it is important for the dentist to be immediately forthcoming: showing himself/herself to be a capable, reliable professional who is meticulous about the details and the quality of what (s)he does.
The practical running of a dental surgery in Italy was addressed by the professional conduct refresher courses promoted by the Italian Register of Dentists Committee. Other topics addressed included communication, advertising and the proper management of dentist’s instruments which every surgery should have to keep up with the times, raise the standard of the services offered and improve the doctor-patient relationship.
A dentist is no longer merely a doctor but also an entrepreneur, which is why (s)he should combine a more “clinical” soul with a managerial approach, by planning visits, attending refresher courses and organising communication activities. Now, more than ever before, a professional needs to:
1) know how to establish a dialogue with patients, including potential patients, raising awareness as to their services by means of various tools, such as a website and social networks;
2) make use of the best clinical instruments to improve the performance of their practice and guarantee maximum hygiene for both settings and instruments.
Experts have identified certain parameters that people use when choosing their dentist.
Make sure the dentist is a professional
After multiple cases which have made the news headlines, people tend to look for greater guarantees as to the dentist’s professionalism. This is not a trite issue, considering that in Italy there are almost 15 thousand fake dentists (source: Ansa) who exercise the profession without a qualification and without being officially registered, which damages genuine dentists but most of all patients. To be sure that an italian dentist is a professional, simply check whether his/her name is in the database on the Federazione Nazionale degli Ordini dei Medici e degli Odontoiatri ( Italian Federation of Registers of Doctors and Dentists – FNOMCeO) website.
Clear and comprehensible quotes
Excluding specific cases where special agreements apply (covered further on), generally speaking it is a good idea to beware of free dental checks that are not promoted by Trade Associations, which are often used as bait to draw future patients/clients. The dentist’s transparency and professionalism can also be seen in the proper communication of costs for any work: as specified in the latest DDL Concorrenza Legal Decree on Competition, every italian dentist is in fact bound to issue the patient a detailed quote which must be written clearly and comprehensibly according to the treatment plan identified.
The cleanliness of the practice and the hygiene of the instruments
The professionalism of a dentist can also be seen in the quality and cleanliness of his/her practice and equipment. Any lack of hygiene or sanitary failures are obviously inadmissible: in fact, they would demonstrate a lack of care about the patient’s health, considering that the market offers a host of materials and products for Infection Control and instruments for dental practice within everyone’s reach, useful for guaranteeing the highest standards of hygiene and quality.
Special rates at dentists with special agreements
In the case of financial difficulties, patients are nevertheless entitled to receive quality dental care from italian professionals, hospitals and dental clinics with dedicated special agreements with the Italian National Health Service. The services offered in Italy to patients in financial difficulty vary from one Region to the next; contact your city’s local healthcare unit (ASL) to find out all the exemptions and special rates available.