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A 42-year-old member asked:

My dentist used to drink a lot. now over 65 and still practicing. trained in golden age of dentistry. should i switch?

9 doctor answers16 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeffrey Jarvis
Dentistry 38 years experience
Not necessarily: I can't speak for the "drink a lot" comment, but i can say that experience is a very valuable thing. Assuming your dentist has kept up with current materials and trends, he/she has performed hundreds of thousands of procedures, and he is probably better at it than the new graduate. 65 is young, and he probably has many good years, and lots of experience to share.
Dr. Donald Rollofson
Dentistry 46 years experience
It depends on trust: We all know that 60 is the new 40 and experience is a valuable quality. If you like the way your dentist treats you, and the care you are receiving then he may be fantastic. If you have serious doubts you could ask friends for a referral and visit another office to see if that would be a better ongoing dental home for you.
Dr. Scott Bobbitt
Dentistry 33 years experience
Experienced!: "...Used to drink a lot?" in college? With you? Can't answer that--what is your trust level? Re: dentistry. If you took the "world's best dentist" from 1965 and magically transported him/her to 2012, s/he would still be tops! technology offers a lot of bells and whistles--blowing smoke--but experience promotes skill, judgement and knowledge that are unavailable to the lesser trained, new grads.
Dr. John Dovgan
37 years experience
Check Dental Board: "used to drink a lot" has ambiguity. Check with you local dental board for current or past discipline on this issue. Also you need to be comfortable with your trust level. If your dentist is "old" that really has no value to his/her capabilities. Experience is priceless. Never ever believe that he/she is not qualified because of age. Trust your instincts and leave if not comfortable.
Dr. Bryan Siegelman
Periodontics 40 years experience
Maybe: You may want to contact your state dental board and find out if there have been any complaints filed against him. His being over 65 should not have anything to do with his competance.
Dr. John Thaler
Prosthodontics 42 years experience
Personal preference: You must determine the type and level of care you require. As you age, who do you want to be caring for you. It is as personal but vitally more important to you as who you choose as your hairdresser !
Dr. Candy Sebold
General Practice 42 years experience
Experience matters: If your dentist does not have disciplinary issues pending then drinking in the past is no reason to switch. Your dentist's age is not old. Dentists, health permitting, can practice much longer than mid 60s. Experience is definitely a plus, not a reason to switch. The same techniques still work from the "golden age" of dentistry.
Dr. Kevin Owoc
Dentistry - Prosthodontics 20 years experience
Should you?: The real question here is, 'why are you concerned?'. Is it because he's over 65? Or because he 'used' to drink? Furthermore, what is 'a lot?' if you're comfortable with him, and trust his clinical skill and ability, why would you switch? Who's to say that a new dentist will be 'better' ? I think you should have a more rational basis for switching doctors before doing so. Keep smiling !
Dr. George Ayoub
Cosmetic Dentistry 19 years experience
Not really: As long as he is practicing with standard of care and you are comfortable then you should not.
Last updated Sep 28, 2016

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