If you are looking for a new dentist for you or your family, we know it can be difficult to find one that meets your needs.
Where do you even start looking? What credentials should they have? Will they work with your insurance provider?
Your oral health is the first defense your body has for its other systems. Poor oral health can lead to problems and health issues for the rest of your body so having a dentist that you can feel comfortable seeing semi-annually should be a priority for you.
In this article, we will go over the factors you should consider before choosing a dentist.
How Much Experience Do They Have?
It’s a good start to see how much experience your dentist has. Are they a fresh graduate, or have they been a dentist all their life and are close to retirement? More importantly, are the dentists you’re looking at all certified in their field?
These are great questions to ask before choosing a dentist. If you have specific oral health issues, you might need a more experienced dentist that has experience working with someone with your condition. Experience is important but it’s okay to go with your gut feeling.
Before choosing a dentist you should also make sure they are registered with the ADA, American Dental Association, to make sure they are credited and will put your oral health first.
Ask Long Time Locals
You may be looking for a new dentist because of a recent move. Crowdsourcing and asking around about the dentists in your area isn’t a bad way to get to know people or your dentists. If the same name comes up, that dentist may be worth checking out.
Try asking your neighbors and local pharmacies about their experiences with the dentists in your area. Dentists with good track records should have professional websites with reviews and a full list of their services and credentials.
Find Out Their Location and Hours
Your colleagues and new friends might point you to a dentist that’s too far away. A 45 minute or longer commute could be a burden and not feasible. If your dentist is too far away, you may feel reluctant to contact them for regular visits or sudden help.
During the winter months, snow and inclimate weather could also cause you to put off your dental appointments. Having a dentist that is nearby and accessible will keep you safe from inclimate weather and your appointments will feel more personal.
Check their hours and location to see if you can squeeze them into your work schedule. Some dentists will have weekend and late evening hours to accommodate most people’s work schedules. Check their website or call their office to make sure.
What Kind of Training and Education Do They Have?
All dentists graduate with a Doctorate of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) or a Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS). Both of these are 4 year-long programs that put each dentist through practical training. To enter either program they must also complete an undergraduate degree.
Some dentistry schools offer either a DDS or DMD, both of which are essentially the same thing. In addition to their schooling, all dentists must pass the National Board of Dental Examination test to acquire their dental license.
Most dentists also get training from workshops and internships. As dental practices improve and change, your dentist should be aware of new methods and techniques. Ask them what continuing education they are taking, a dentist dedicated to improving is a dentist worth having!
It may not be the most fun thing to talk about but it is crucial that you find a dentist that you can afford and is willing to work with your insurance provider. Don’t be afraid to call offices and ask about pricing and which insurance companies they take.
Making comparisons between dental offices is fine. Comparing dentist’s prices with their experience and services can make a big difference when it comes to specific operations. If they can’t perform certain procedures the price of a referral from another practitioner can be very impactful.
Do note that the location of your dentist does affect their cost. Places with higher costs of living will cost more, if you don’t mind driving out of town, you might be able to save some money in exchange for your time.
Consider Your Dentists Personality
Dental phobia exists in both kids and adults. For some dental visits can be a scary experience. If you or your children suffer from dental phobia, it would be a good idea to meet your dentist before scheduling an appointment.
You want to feel comfortable and safe with your dentist before, during, and after your visit. Modern dental offices will have televisions and other distractions to help get your mind off the procedure.
You can also schedule a consultation with your dentist to know what will happen during your procedure. This will help you get rid of any nervousness you may have.
If you find a dentist whose personality mixes well with yours, you won’t have to worry about a thing and know you are in good hands.
What Kind of Technology and Equipment Do They Have?
Get to know what kind of equipment and tools are used inside their dental office. Older dental offices might have outdated equipment, you will want to make sure that your dentist is using up to date techniques and can perform them with the right equipment.
You might have to pay more for a dentist with the latest equipment, but this could be a big advantage for you. More specialized equipment will make sure your procedures go smoothly and you can feel confident about your teeth.
When choosing a dentist be sure to research their experience, education, office hours, and practices. In the end, it is your oral health and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions or schedule a consultation.
To learn more about how to choose a dentist, or how to maintain your oral health, visit the rest of our website.