A dentist can play a vital role in your overall health. After all, poor or insufficient dental care can lead to pain, infections, heart problems, and even premature labor for pregnant mothers. It is recommended that you see a dentist twice per year for a cleaning, check-up, and possibly x-rays. More frequent visits to the dentist may be required if you are having any dental health issues, including pain. Because you will be seeing your dentist at least twice per year, it is important to pick a dentist that you feel is compatible with your treatment needs and style.
Choosing the right dentist can sometimes be a challenging process. However, knowing where to look and what to look for are the key ingredients to finding a dentist that is a good match for you. Making sure you have the right dentist is a process and can take some time and research.
Resources for Finding a Dentist
Some people are comfortable randomly selecting a dentist, or even a doctor, from the phone book or an internet search engine. Many, however, are not. If you need more than just a name in a book or on a computer screen in order to help you select a dentist you are not alone.
Checking with friends, family, and neighbors can be a good way to explore your options in dental care in your area. You can also seek referrals from family doctors, pediatricians, and their staff. There are also online resources and 800 numbers to call to get a referral for dentists in your own area. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are other ways of finding a dentist in your area and learning more about their office. When someone is referring you to a specific dentist you may want to ask them some questions:
• What do they like about this dentist?
• Are the usually on schedule?
• Are they personable?
• What do they do for pain control and comfort during office procedures?
• Have you ever had any problems with this dentist, and if so, what made you stay with them?
• What is the office staff like?
• Is it difficult to schedule an appointment time?
What to Ask the Dentist’s Office
Once you decide to contact a dental office, there are several questions you will want to ask them as well. Such as:
• Do they accept dental insurance, if so, which insurance companies?
• What are their office hours?
• What are the dentist’s background, education, and experience like?
• How are dental emergencies handled during and after office hours?
• How does the dentist decrease pain and increase comfort during dental office procedures?
• Are there special measures taken for those that have high anxiety while at the dentist?
• How long has the dentist been at this practice?
• Does the dentist keep up on continuing education?
• How is the dentist using technology advancements to aid in the practice?
• Can you interview the dentist and staff before making an appointment?
Which Factors Are Most Important When Choosing a Dentist
Depending on your own past personal experiences at the dentist, some of these questions will be of more importance than others. If you have had a past traumatic or rather painful dental care experience, you may be especially interested in how pain and anxiety are handled at the office. If you have had poor experiences with insurance companies and dental offices, knowing how their office procedures and billing work might be of more importance.
The right dentist for you is one who supports you and makes you feel safe, no matter what previous dental experiences you have had. The right dentist also has a knowledgeable and friendly staff that respect you and your time. Taking the time to get referrals and doing the research into a couple of different dental offices can prove to be time well spent when you find the perfect dentist for you.