Take your time choosing a dentist and don’t wait for an emergency dental problem to find one! There are several things to consider when looking for a dentist.
Location and office hours
Choose a dentist close to your home or place of work. This will make it easier to schedule visits, avoid the stress of traffic congestion and ensures you arrive on time. Also, make sure that the dental office is open on the days and at the times when you are able to schedule an appointment.
Does the dentist accept your medical insurance cover? Does the dentist offer multiple payment options (credit cards, personal checks, payment plans)? If your insurance plan requires referrals to specialists, can this dentist provide them?
Also, given that costs vary from practice to practice. Get estimates of what your dentist might charge for common procedures such as fillings, crowns or root canal work to be done. Even though you may have dental insurance, you may be paying required to pay part of the costs yourself above certain levels.
It’s important to note that it’s worth it to pay a little extra to find a dentist who will give you excellent care in an event which you feel comfortable.
One of the most important things to consider when you choose a dentist is whether you feel comfortable with that person. Do you feel comfortable enough to be able to explain symptoms and ask questions without feeling awkward or like you are imposing on their time? Do you feel like the dentist hears and understands your concerns? Would you feel comfortable asking for pain medicine, expressing your fear or anxiety, or asking in depth questions about a procedure?
The dentist’s reception should be able to tell you about the dentist’s training, registration details and qualifications. The office also should have policies available to you on infection control. If the staff seems uncomfortable answering these questions, or you are uncomfortable with their answers, consider finding another practice. You can also obtain information about a dentist’s qualifications from the local dental association and Government Licensing Board who oversee the licensing of dentists.
Find out what happens if you have an emergency, either during normal office hours, at night or on a weekend. A dentist should not refer you to a hospital emergency room. You should be able to contact your dentist or be referred to a suitable alternative dentist at any time by calling their reception during or after work hours.
How To Find a Dentist
Here are some suggestions on finding dentists to evaluate:
People to ask:
- Your friends and family— Friends and family members are a great resource to learn about a trusted dentist. They can tell you about the personality of the dentist and office staff, and answer your questions. Here are some good questions to ask:
- How well does the dentist explain treatment options?
- Was he or she kind, gentle and understanding?
- How long do you have to sit in the waiting room?
- Do you feel comfortable asking questions?
- How does the office handle emergencies?
- How long do you have to wait for an appointment?
- How are bills handled?
- Your Current Dentist— If you are moving, ask your current dentist if he or she knows of someone to recommend near your new home.
- Your Current Doctor— Your physician may be able to provide some names of dentists.
- Local Dentist Reviews — If you are wanting a specific procedure, check Google reviews of dentists operating in your area that do that work for insights into past client thoughts on their experience. Then check their website to investigate the dentists philosophy.
Places to call:
- Your dental insurance company— Your insurer will provide names and contact information for dentists in your area who are approved providers of dental services. Usually you will pay a lower fee if you use these dentists under your policy. Your insurer also may have other information, such as whether the dentist accepts new patients, does veneer work, implants etc.
- Your Local Hospital– Some hospitals have their own dental clinics, or can recommend local dentists.
- Your Local Dental Association —A dental association can provide names of dentists who are current and members of good standing.
Besides all of the above possibilities to locate a suitable dentist to call, you can also check the yellow pages, do a Google search for local dentists, check business directory listings and dentists on social media.