Going to the dentist can be stressful for anyone, but finding the right dentist can make all of the difference in the world. In this article, we help you to find that right dentist.
If you’re ready to switch dentists, or if you’ve recently moved to a new area, finding the right dentist can be a challenge. However, we’ve rounded up the top tips you can use to find your perfect dentist.
Tip One: Start Your Search Using the Basics
Finding your new dentist doesn’t have to be a stressful search, just start with the basics and work your way up. This will give you a solid foundation to start your search with.
Check Your Insurance
Visiting the dentist can be an expensive trip, and you have to make sure your insurance has dental benefits.
If you have a dental HMO, you may be very limited on which dentist you can choose as they must be in your HMO’s network. If you have a PPO dental plan, visiting an in-network dentist can significantly change your co-payment amounts.
Read more about the different dental plans here.
Do you want a dental office that is closer to your home or your work? Can you be flexible when it comes to appointment scheduling? These things matter when you have a busy schedule.
You should also ask what happens in the event of a dental emergency. Does your dentist offer emergency dental? If they do, do you have to be there at a certain time? Check the normal office hours as well because if you work a traditional 9 to 5 job, a Saturday may be your best day to get an appointment.
Know Your Dentist’s Credentials
Ideally, your dentist of choice should be a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), a local dental society, or the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
If your dentist is a member of one of these dental organizations, they’ll have access to up-to-date information and resources to lean on for additional help.
They’ll also have several guidelines they’ve sworn to uphold including to do no harm, do good, and be fair.
Tip Two: Start Your Search
Now that you have a good idea of the basic things you’ll want to look for in your new dentist, you can start your search. You’ll most likely notice online ads, radio announcements, and print ads advertising a variety of dental services.
Decide What Type of Dentist You Need
The next step is deciding what type of dentist you need. If you have kids, you may want to consider a family dental practitioner.
You may also find many ‘cosmetic dentists‘ available, and this simply means that they’re able to do cosmetic dental treatments.
A pedodontist works with children, endodontists are root canal specialists, periodontists work with gum disease, and an orthodontist specializes in braces and bites.
A general dentist may also perform some of these things, or they’ll be able to refer you to a specialist.
Check Local Dental Societies
Your local dental society should be able to give you a list of reputable dentists in your specific area. You can also use the American Dental Association’s Find a Dentist search tool. You can search by name, specialty, and location.
A trusted friend or relative is also another great resource when you’re searching for your next dentist.
If you don’t have dental insurance, this State Dental Association list can give you a starting point to finding low-cost, reputable dentists.
Look at Social Media
When you’ve found a few dentists, check their social media pages. You also want to check their websites.
Read reviews, complaints, and see how well they resolve any issues. This can give you a good idea of how solid their reputation is, as well as how well they run their dental offices.
Tip Three: Do a Meet and Greet
Take a few of your top choices and call to schedule a meet and greet. Tell them that you’re new to the area, and you’d like to come into the office and meet the staff. You can even schedule a consultation with the dentist while you’re there.
Before you go to your meet and greet, make a complete list of questions you want to ask your dentist or the dental staff.
You want to find out which services the dentist performs in the office and which ones they’ll refer you for.
Make sure to ask about how the office handles emergency dental appointments. Are the office staff familiar with your insurance and do they offer payment plans or financial plans for treatment cost?
Finally, ask how far in advance dental appointments are scheduled out.
Set up an Appointment and Evaluate
Set up a consultation with the dentist of your choice. Once the consultation is finished, evaluate your visit.
You want the dental office to be clean, neat, and orderly, and think about how the staff acted throughout your visit.
Were they courteous and helpful? Did the dentist address all of your concerns and were you comfortable during your consultation? Was the office child-friendly?
Did they handle your private medical history with the discretion you expected?
If you were happy with your visit and you had all of your questions answered, congratulations, you’ve found your new dentist. If you weren’t happy, move on to the next dentist on your list.
The process of finding the right dentist for you may take some time to get right, but the payoff is worth it. You’ll have a professional and reputable dentist that you’re comfortable visiting whenever you have to have dental work done.