There are many reasons for why you might be looking for a new family dentist. From your past one retiring, to moving to a new city, the hunt for a good dentist can be tough, especially when there are so many that aren’t accepting new patients. So once you limit your search to those that are available to take you on, it’s time to go through and evaluate your options according to the following five indicators: credentials, lifestyle compatibility, cost, communication, and quality of materials and technology.
Just like doctors of medicine, dentists go through a lot of schooling, from an undergraduate degree, to their professional dental degree. Then they have to pass an exam with the local board of dentists that allows them to practice in a certain location. Many dentists decide to do additional training and certifications that allow them to perform additional procedures and operate new machinery. Compare the credentials that the local dentists possess and prioritze how important those additional certifications are you to compared to the other considerations. Also, don’t be afraid to go all secret service and start searching for malpractice claims. It’s important for you to be confident in your dentist’s abilities.
- Lifestyle Compatibility
You know what your life is like, whether that means that you work shifts, have a few nervous kids, or work long hours every day of the week. Find a dentist that can accommodate your needs and hours, whether that means late evening appointments, a great approach to kids, or will be sensitive to your phobia of dental equipment. Having the dental practice close to your home or your work makes it more likely that you can make appointments on time or be able to pop out for emergency procedures without creating elaborate plans.
Some people have their dental bills subsidized by their insurance companies, while others have to pay out of pocket for everything. Ask about prices for services and don’t feel uncomfortable if extra things they are offering cost extra. Tell the receptionist or the dentist about your insurance situation and be clear about what you expect to spend on every visit. If you feel uncomfortable bringing it up or you see that the other side is responding strangely, it might not be the place for you.
Yes, it’s important that your dentist takes good care of your teeth, but he or she should also be a skilled communicator. Though it’s natural that you might not understand the intimate details about the things that are going on in your mouth while the dentist is working on it, you should never feel like you have no idea of what just happened or it only becomes apparent once you get your bill. Show the dentist that you expect to be in the know, and understand what you can do to continue the care at home. You want a dentist you can talk to, learn from and feel good about visiting.
- Dental Materials and Technology
Just like in every industry, there are newer and older techniques and technology for dentistry. Look for dentists that are progressive in their approach to their trade and to their clients. It shows that they care and want to offer the best service for their patients. For some people, even having screens above the chairs is important to keep their mind off what is going on inside their mouths, for others knowing that all the imaging is done in house is enough. Now that’s a winner!
Choosing a dentist is not as easy at just choosing a random name from a business directory. If personal referrals do not give you a prize-winning candidate, these 5 considerations will get you as close as possible to the perfect dentist for you.