5 Things You Should Consider When Choosing a Dentist
Choosing a dentist is a task best completed before there’s an emergency. Most people don’t enjoy going to the dentist, and if you don’t find someone with whom you’re comfortable, you might find yourself putting off care that is critical to your long-term oral health. You want to find the professional who has the office, personality, professionalism and staff that puts you at ease. When you find the dentist that fits your needs and start building a lasting relationship, you experience a lifetime of healthy smiles.
If the dentist you’re considering has years of experience, he or she will have solidified their reputation both online and in your community. Start with an online search to see what previous patients have to say. Read whether they felt comfortable during routine cleanings and more extensive dental procedures. Notice what they say about wait times, staff friendliness and billing efficiency.
Talk to your family and friends to see if there’s someone they recommend. Ask if they felt comfortable asking questions about their treatment and how the office handled any dental emergencies.
Dentists register with and have accountability to their state dental board. Most states have a website where you can look up your dentist’s licensing information. When you do, it will tell you if the state has had to take disciplinary action or if there have been claims made against the professional you’re considering.
The dentist’s office should also be able to furnish information about the dentist’s professional qualifications. The local dental society and your dental insurance provider may also have information on their training.
Consider Their Personality
A dentist might be well-qualified and still not be a fit for you. Sometimes personalities just don’t work well together. People compare doing unpleasant tasks to going to the dentists because they have a negative feeling about having work done to their teeth. The right dentist can turn oral care into a positive task you feel good about doing for yourself.
Start by making a phone call and asking about your concerns. Ask about the institution from which the dentist graduated, their practice history in your area, and about any areas of specialization. Confirm the number of staff they employ and how long employees typically stay. If you feel comfortable with the staff, plan time to interview the dentist.
When you talk to the dentist, ask yourself if you feel comfortable with him or her. Do they really listen to your concerns, or just want to get you in and out of the chair?
Evaluate Their Office
Choose a dentist who is close to where you live or work so it’s easy to make it to appointments. Ask whether the dentist you’re considering is open during hours that fit your schedule, and inquire about how long patients typically must wait if they have an emergency.
If you have dental insurance, find out if they work with your provider. If you don’t have insurance, see if they have payment plans or accept your preferred method of payment.
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