Choosing a dentist is a very particular process. Aside from choosing one who provides excellent care, it’s important to consider issues of insurance and even personality. In this article, we’ll walk through the process of choosing a dentist and give a few pointers about what to look for when selecting the person who will help you care for your teeth.
To the Interwebs!
The number one resource for those starting a dentist search is the internet. Though you could ask your family and friends for recommendations, most have had very little comparison and can only give a subjective opinion about one dentist. On the other hand, looking at dentist reviews online can provide side by side comparisons about a number of specific aspects of dental care. After looking at a few dentist office reviews, view the websites of three or four that seem to be well liked, according to sites that review dentists. On each site, try to locate the following information:
- Office hours
- Education of the dentist
- Accepted insurance
After determining which locations would be most convenient for your schedule and location, have well qualified professionals, and accept your insurance, it’s time to make a few phone calls.
Pick Up the Phone
Not everything you want to know will be discussed by those who review dentists or available on the office website. Call the front desk to find out the answers to the following:
- What is the dentist’s approach to preventative dentistry?
- Does the dentist engage in professional development activities?
- What type of anesthesia is the dentist certified to provide?
- Can arrangements be made for emergencies outside of office hours?
- Is information about fees and payment available before treatment is scheduled? If possible, ask for estimates on common procedures.
- What is the office policy about missed appointments?
After you get answers on those questions, you should have a pretty short list of potential dentists. The next stop is a visit.
Stop On By
Many dentist office reviews will address the environment, but some who review dentists neglect to include information about the office itself. Scheduling a visit helps you to visually confirm that the offices you are considering are in fact reputable and viable. There are only three major things to look for here.
- Is the office neat and organized? Do all surfaces and equipment look clean?
- Is the staff helpful, friendly, and willing to answer questions?
- Are the dentist and hygienists wearing gloves and protective gear during patient treatment?
Make the Choice
After looking at recommendations from those who review dentists online, looking at office websites, making some phone calls, and visiting the final contenders, it should be fairly easy to make a decision. Though there are a lot of factors involved, thorough inspection and consideration can help patients to make the right decision.