The importance of good oral health is well-documented and an essential part of achieving a healthy smile is regular preventive care at a dental office. Regardless of how well you care for your teeth at home, there are no substitutions for professional cleanings and check-ups by your dentist. Equally important is choosing the right dentist for your unique needs. In most cases, a quick internet search is not an effective way to choose the person you’re entrusting with your oral health. If you’re in the market for a new dentist, consider the following tips:
Ask for recommendations. A recommendation from a trusted source is an excellent way to find a new dental office. Consider asking family members, friends, and co-workers where they go for dental care– and then ask what they like and dislike about the practice. If you’d prefer a more professional recommendation, approach your regular physician or local pharmacist for insight regarding the best practices in the area.
Do your research. After you’ve armed yourself with a handful of recommendations, it’s time to do your own research. This is when internet searching comes in handy. Check the websites of the practices you’re considering. Many sites contain a section for patient reviews or testimonials; make sure to read over those. If patient reviews aren’t available on the practice’s website, you can check out other review sites, like Yelp.
Check with your insurance company. If you have dental insurance, it’s a wise idea to check with your insurer before deciding on a dentist. Some insurers only work with a specific network of dentists and care outside of that network can be costly. If you’re not able to garner the necessary information from your dental insurer, call the specific practice you’re considering to determine if your insurance will be accepted.
Ask the right questions. Now that you’ve narrowed down your choices after gathering recommendations, doing research, and talking to your insurer, it’s time to give the front-running practices a call. There are plenty of questions you might consider asking before deciding if an office is the right fit for you, including:
- What are the dentist’s credentials? Often, a dentist’s training and education will be listed on the practice’s website. If not, you’ll want to ask this information up front. In addition to past credentials, consider inquiring about what type of continuing education the dentist engages in.
- What are the office hours? Does the practice operate during standard business hours? Do they offer weekend appointments? Once you know their schedule, determine how it fits in with your typical schedule.
- How are dental emergencies that occur outside of standard office hours handled? It’s important to know that a practice you’re considering has a plan in place for true dental emergencies that occur outside of regular business hours.
- What’s the dentist’s approach to preventive care? What’s included in a standard check-up? Does the dentist help develop an oral health plan for your unique needs?
- Can you provide me with some estimates for common dental procedures? While top-notch care should be your first concern when finding the right dentist, cost is also a factor for many people. If you’re price shopping, consider asking the practice to provide you with rough estimates for the cost of common procedures, like fillings, X-rays, and root canals.
Take a tour. Sometimes, research and phone conversations simply don’t feel sufficient when deciding on which dental practice is right for you. In these cases, scheduling a tour of a couple of offices can be useful. What should you look for when you visit? A clean, organized office is a good place to start. Additionally, consider whether or not the staff is friendly and welcoming. Does the equipment in the treatment rooms appear to be properly packaged and maintained? Are the dentists and hygienists wearing appropriate protection when treating patients?
For more information about choosing the right dental practice for your unique needs, please us today!