It can be a depressing task trying to find a good dentist for you and your family. This can be especially difficult if you have had a previous bad experience at the dentist, causing you apprehension and anxiety. Before making your next appointment, you need to sit down and come up with a list of important things that matter to you.
Once you have that list written down, separate the “must-haves” and the “nice-to-haves” as this will guide you through the process of selecting a dentist. Some of the things that may be important to you are:
- 4. Time
- 5. Money
- 6. Comfort
- 7. Practice Philosophy
Time and Convenience
If time and convenience matter to you, you want to make sure you select a location that is close to your work or home and is easily accessible. You want to find out the office hours for the dental office to evaluate if they fit into your schedule.
Some of the questions you can ask are:
How quickly can you get in, and how are after-hours emergencies handled?
You can also ask if the dentist will perform most dental treatments in-house or if he or she will refer you to specialty dental offices for certain procedures.
If you want to minimize the amount of money you spend at the dentist, you want to ask if the dental office you are considering accepts your dental insurance (if you have any). Ask if the dental office offers any financing options. Other things to be on the lookout for if you want to save money are promotions and incentives offered by dental offices, such as free consultations or free tooth whitening. It may be helpful to call around to ask how much certain dental procedures cost, even though this could be difficult to do without actually going to the dental office and getting an exam done.
If you suffer from dental anxiety, it may be more important to find a dentist and dental team that makes you feel comfortable. A team that listens to you and puts you at ease. This could take a little more trial and error because you have to go to different dental practices until you find one match for you. Some of the things that may help with this process are asking friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations; if someone in your social circle has found a dentist they like, chances are you may like them too. Something else you can do is look at the office’s reviews on social platforms like Google and Facebook. Another good resource to ask for dentist recommendations is other health care providers you trust, such as your primary care doctor or your pharmacist. If you are relocating and you have a good relationship with your current dentist, ask them to recommend someone to you since chances of them knowing a dentist in the location you are moving to are high.
Ask yourself whether you are a preventative type of person or a wait until in breaks or hurts. Every dentist has their philosophy on how to take care of their patients, so to avoid frustration, make sure you pick one that meshes well with how you want to take care of your oral health. Once you have evaluated all these factors and others, it is time to set up a consultation to meet the dentist and their team to see if you have found your “forever” dental home.
What is great these days is that you do not necessarily have to do an in-person consultation; some offices now offer virtual consultations.