Now on this site there are both positive and negative reviews of him. The positive reviews often talk about things that are of relatively little concern to me - like how polite his staff are (which they are). And the negatives seem either irrelevant to the practice of dentistry or over the top in their negativity.
I called my sister, an MD who can also be found on this site (see Dr. Astrid Sjodin), and asked her what she thought. Her advice was that I should meet the doctor and judge for myself. She said that when people write these reviews they tend to do so in an emotional state; both negatives AND positives should not be given undue weight. So on that note, let me offer as objective an opinion of my experience with Dr. Gelfand as I can:
Before contacting him, I googled his name and found that he actively engages in online peer forums. I read questions he had that indicated both insight and appropriate deference in his discussions. I like that. Evidently he would seek to keep his knowledge and skills current through constructive discourse with his fellow dentists.
He was able to see me the day I contacted his office… I actually went the following day. Other dentists wouldn’t see me for over a month.
I went in for a free consultation and he was generous with his time although at first he seemed a bit guarded - as was I. Most of the time dentists come across to me as hustlers with dollar signs in their eyes. I tend to see them as a necessary evil. I imagine that Dr. Gelfand understands this sentiment and knows to mitigate it - he did so quite effectively. No disingenuous coddling or arrogance. He took a couple of X-Rays and explained what he was seeing AND what he wasn’t sure about based on the X-Rays alone. These were to do with my bone density and a dark splotch that might indicate an issue. He told me of the option to do an MRI but felt it was overkill.
I raised the question of why he was so much more affordable than other dentists. His explanation was wholly satisfying. I made it crystal clear to him that while, like everybody else, I wanted to save money, the cost was not my primary concern. I wanted quality work more than a bargain and was prepared to pay more to assure this. I’m paying out of pocket but for this need, my pockets are deep enough to adopt such a posture.
I went in with the expectation that I would need four implants. He declared that I only needed three as one tooth (one which has long been dead thanks to a rough and tumble youth) had a solid root that would negate the need for an implant there.
I scheduled the implant work the following week (yesterday as I write this). I chose not to get a sedative as I’m not a particularly nervous patient. I’ve been in the chair too many times to worry. He numbed my mouth up - the whole process was virtually painless. He was careful to ask about my comfort level and respond with additional numbing when I needed it. It seems I burn through local anaesthetic quite quickly. After the treatment and the next day (today), there was no pain and no other complications such as bleeding. During the surgery, he checked the concerns mentioned in point 3 above and affirmed that all was well.
He scheduled one follow up appointment in two weeks and, provided all was well, he would not see me again for another 5 months when it would be time to put the crowns on the implants. This is how implants work. They need time for bone to grow in.
Prior to starting any work he had me read and sign a detailed statement of work, description of the risks, and exactly what everything would cost. I clarified that any complications resulting from errors in his work would be dealt with by him at no additional cost to me. I was given all the time I needed to carefully read this document and was invited to ask any questions about it.
He verbally instructed me on after-treatment care and then provided me with the same in writing along with prescriptions for some meds should I need them. I’m taking the antibiotics to be on the safe side but I don’t need the painkillers.
When he was done with the work, I paid him exactly what was agreed.
I have no complaints about the work Dr. Gelfand has done. I am very happy - as is my young daughter who was fascinated by my Emailed X-Rays and ran around showing everybody. Now I practically invited him to pad his billing (see points 4 and 5 above) but he did no such thing. I am certain my regular dentist back in New Brunswick would have found any excuse to do extra work no matter how unnecessary. Dr. Gelfand is professional and honourable. I’m relieved I went with him. Of course I’m not done with my treatment yet but the trickiest part is over. I’m confident it will continue to go well.