How To Choose a Dentist?

Like it or not, we all need to visit the dentist at some point in our lives, and it's a well-known fact that regular checkups, dental visits, cleans, and polish appointments are actually a good way to prevent further and sometimes painful conditions later on.

It's a sad fact that brushing and flossing alone is not a replacement for a scale and polish appointment, and only a dentist can really go through how to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

In fact, it's not just your dental health that dentists look after. Regular trips to the dentist can help prevent the buildup of plaque, which, when swallowed, takes bacteria into the stomach and has been found to be one factor to the increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other clinical conditions. So going to the dentist regularly saves your teeth and your heart!

Most People Don’t Like Visiting The Dentist

It's a well-known problem that makes us very sad, but not many people look forward to visiting the dentist. What it means is that people will actively put it off until their problems cannot be ignored, leading to issues such as infections and abscesses that could even be life-threatening.

That's why we believe that finding a dentist that you are comfortable with and a specialist that you trust is highly important. You need to feel confident going to them with any issue or even for just a checkup. So, how do you find a good dentist, and what should you look for? 

If you are looking for a new dentist, whether you've moved or you've never been confident with your current dentist, we have some tips that might help make choosing a dentist easier for you:

  1. Ask around: We're more likely to feel confident if a family member or a close friend has recommended something to us, and the same is true for dentists. Due to the fact that not many people look forward to going to the dentist, getting a recommendation from a family member or friend could actually mean you're getting a fantastic practitioner!
  2. Ask Another Clinician: This is especially true if you've moved and you're registering with a new Primary Care Practitioner, ask for their recommendations, and ask anyone else in the clinical network who they would recommend.
  3. Ask Another Dentist: If you're moving, it's worth asking your current dental practice if they can recommend someone in your area. The dental world can be a small place, and it's likely that your current practice will know others or will be able to recommend others to you.
  4. Registered Specialists: The American Dental Association has a list of registered practitioners across the states, if you can't get a recommendation, then this is a good place to look.

Questions to ask when choosing a dentist 

Just as you wouldn't trust a primary care physician without knowing their credentials, you wouldn't trust a dentist either. Still, beyond qualifications, there are a number of questions you should be asking your prospective new dentist to ensure that you feel comfortable and happy with them as a practice.

Don't be afraid to visit a few different practices to ask questions and get to know them. Remember, the more calm and confident you are, the better the treatment will work. 

Whether you decide to go for a chain or use a family dentist clinic like ours, these questions should be important and should be answered in an honest and straightforward way.

  1. Do they take your dental insurance, and how do you make a claim with your insurance company? What about a payment plan?
  2. Are they taking on new patients, and are they likely to fit in with your timetable?
  3. Do they have dental offices near your home or working environment?
  4. How would they approach preventive dental plans?
  5. How would they approach restorative or cosmetic dentistry?
  6. How do they handle emergencies, especially after hours? Most dental practices have processes in place to ensure that you are at least referred for treatment if they cannot carry it out for you.
  7. What services do they offer and how much do they cost? This could be things like x-rays, oral exams, fillings, root canal, extractions, etc.
  8. What is their cancellation policy, will you be charged if you can't attend your appointment?

In addition to the 8 questions above, you will need to satisfy yourself that their clinic is clean and hygienic and that it meets the standards you would like to be treated in.

Have a look around and note:

  • Is the clinic neat, clean, and tidy?
  • Is the waiting area well kept?
  • Does their equipment give off an impression of being tidy and state-of-the-art?
  • Did the dental care staff answer your inquiries in a kind and gracious way?
  • Do the dental providers and staff wear gloves and other pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE)?
  • What is their attitude to continuing education and updating their training?

Getting it right

As with any new medical setting, you need to make sure you are comfortable and confident with both the services they offer, as well as the general look and feel of the place you'll be having treatment in.

This is especially important for patients who have underlying health conditions such as difficulties with dental anesthetics, or for patients who are particularly nervous. Some dental practices may not be able to treat patients who are very phobic and in need of specialist treatment such as conscious sedation or even general anesthetic. However, many dental practices are able to offer some more specialist services like sedation to their clients who need it.

It's a good idea to invest a little energy in becoming more acquainted with your new dental office. Picking a clinician may appear to be a simple task, but a bad choice can affect your relationship with your dentist and others for many years to come putting your own overall health at risk as well as the oral health of your children. 

We're always happy to speak with prospective clients to set their fears to rest, and we'll be happy to take you on a tour of the practice during office hours by prior arrangement and answer any questions you may have. Book in a call or visit us today.