How to Choose a Dentist
Posted on: Monday, September 18th, 2017
Our patients who are moving out of the area often ask us how they should find a new dentist. It’s handy to choose one that is very close to your new home but that might not give you a dentist you really like. In our practice, we focus on offering the kind of care that builds long-term relationships with our patients – so they may not be happy if their new dentist does not have the same focus.
So yes, your new dentist must be somewhat conveniently located to your new home or office but, more importantly, they must meet your specific needs in terms of care.
Here’s what you can do to find a practice you’re happy to take your whole family to:
- Don’t just choose someone out of the telephone book or an online search. Start by asking your new co-workers or neighbors to recommend a dentist they really like. If you already have friends or family in your new location, survey them. Ask them what they like about the dental office and see if they describe a practice you’d be happy with. You might ask if the dentist and staff seem comfortable answering questions and if they tend to run on schedule most of the time.
- Look for someone who has been practicing at least ten years. Experience and continuing education are quite valuable in healthcare.
- You want a practice that has updated its equipment recently. There are many developments in the dental field that result in better care for you and your family and you deserve to have access to these. When talking to the staff and dentist, you can ask about the use of laser treatment for cavities or gum disease, digital x-rays and intraoral cameras that provide detailed imaging of a patient’s mouth. These improvements give you a gauge of how recently the practice has invested in its equipment.
- When you have a list of possible dentists, call the one or ones most highly recommended. Some practitioners will agree to meet you for a consultation so you can determine if you will be comfortable with him or her. Whether you consult with the dentist by phone or in person, have a list of questions ready. You might ask the dentist or his staff questions like these:
- How far ahead do you normally need to schedule routine appointments?
- What is the dentist’s specialty? For example, family practice, pediatrics, oral surgery, orthodontics.
- Is emergency care is available? (This is especially important if you have children.)
- What are the hours of the office? Are any evening or weekend hours available?
- How often does the dentist or staff check for gum disease?
- If any of your family are anxious about getting dental work done, can the dentist provide sedation?
- What procedures can be done in this office and which ones require referral out to other specialists?
- Does the dentist check for oral cancers? How often?
When you visit the office, the staff and dentists you speak to should give you the impression of being friendly, courteous and interested in you. The office should impress you with its cleanliness and comfort.
With just a little research done ahead of time, you have a good chance of making a choice that provides a dentist and staff you’ll be happy to have treating you and your family for many years to come.
" ” Really nice office. Very friendly people.” Brian M. star rating: 5 out of 5"