Sunday, April 6, 2008

great dentist

Here at the Ode Street Tribune, I want to bring you good news. My dentist is Steven R. Johnson. If you need to go to the dentist, I highly recommend him. His dental practice is good news.

What I like about Dr. Johnson and his practice:

1. I have complete confidence in Dr. Johnson's integrity in diagnosing and treating my dental situation in light of my treatment preferences. The friend who recommended Dr. Johnson to me went to Dr. Johnson after having been subject at his previous dentist to what he judged to be unnecessary dental work. I came to Dr. Johnson seeking a second opinion after being told by another dentist that I needed four "caps" (four dental crowns; cost, about $5000). From Dr. Johnson's evaluation, I learned that four caps was a reasonable treatment approach for my situation. However, I prefer a "if it's not broke don't fix it" approach to dental work. Dr. Johnson clearly and factually communicated to me the trade-offs in doing two caps and two fillings rather than four caps. I decided to go with the former option. I am happy to have had the opportunity to make an informed, reasonable treatment choice, and I'm happy with the treatment results.

2. Dr. Johnson is smart and up-to-date with dental technology and knowledge. He mentioned to me that he had bought an expensive CAD/CAM machine for in-office milling of ceramic crowns, but he never used it in practice because he wasn't satisfied with its precision. That indicates to me that he not only is aware of new dental developments, but critically evaluates them with respect to their benefits to his patients. His office is newly renovated (and includes fun gaming consoles for kids in the waiting room), and all his equipment looks new. Of course looks are a crude way of evaluating equipment. But I remember going to a dentist in the early nineties and receiving a full-jaw x-ray from a machine that looked like it was twenty-years old. I credit those x-rays for all the fine thinking I've done since then. But, all in all, I would prefer to have a newer machine aiming x-rays at my head.

3. The dental assistants at Dr. Johnson's office are friendly, sympathetic, professional, and do good work. When you're gagging on an upper jaw mold, it's good to know that the person making the mold is keeping an eye on you and will not let you suffocate. You count on dental assistants to get a lot of tasks right. You can count on Dr. Johnson's team to work as a team and get things right.

4. Dr. Johnson's office is exceptionally well run. You actually see the doctor at your appointment time; you don't spend a half-hour or more after the appointment time waiting in the waiting room. Of course, a big problem for doctors in scheduling is probably that many patients show up late, at the wrong time, or not at all. Dr. Johnson's office calls me a few days before an appointment to remind me of the appointment and to ask me to confirm the appointment. I would guess that they do that for all their patients. I also guess that these reminders help to explain why their appointment schedule seems to work so well.

5. Dr. Johnson's office handles insurance claims efficiently. I've got general health insurance, dental insurance, and a health expenditure savings account. It's a potential paperwork nightmare. Dr. Johnson's office has always accurately reviewed my coverage to tell me what's covered and correctly submitted claims.

Having Dr. Johnson as a dentist is good news. I'm sure there's a lot of other good news around Arlington, northern Virginia, the DC area, the U.S., and the whole world. Let's start hearing more of it!

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