5 Tips for Finding the Right Dentist for Your Needs
Are you in need of a new dentist? Whether you’ve recently moved, expanded your family, changed jobs, or just want to make changes to your individual healthcare practices, finding the right dentist for your needs can be a little bit of a process. But, it’s not as bad as you think, so long as you get ahead of the game. In other words – don’t wait until you’re actually in need of dental care! It just takes a little bit of patience, research, and a solid understanding of what you want in a dental provider.
If you’re not sure how to start looking, here are five tips to help you choose the right dentist for your needs:
- Location – If you’re like most people, you’re probably going to prefer a dentist who is within close proximity to your home or place of work. This makes keeping appointments so much easier and hassle-free, as you won’t have to go out of your way. It also means that you’ll be near help in the event of a dental emergency. So, start looking in your immediate area, and make a list of your top choices. From there, you can expand your search until you find a location and practice that meets all of your desired wants and needs.
- Referral – When it comes to searching for any kind of healthcare need, it always helps to start by talking to friends, neighbors, even co-workers to get their recommendations. Getting names via word-of-mouth from people you trust really can make your selection process monumentally easier, as it takes much of the stress of the search off your shoulders. From these recommendations, you’ll be able to learn which practices and dentists are most popular in your area. Another great place to seek referrals is through your general practitioner, as they’re always dialed in to what other providers are doing in the area.
- Research – Once you get some names that you’re satisfied with, don’t forget to do your own research. Head to each practice’s website to get more information about the offices, employees, hours, policies, background, etc. You want to look for easy access, including office hours that fit your typical schedule, the dentist’s philosophy about dental care and how they approach key things like treatment and medication, office policies on missed appointments, payment expectations and plans, as well as which insurance providers they accept. This is also the time to check each dentist’s online reviews. See what patients are saying, and don’t be afraid to ask around for feedback.
- Visit – Once you’ve narrowed down your top choices, swing by the offices for an in-person assessment to see how you feel about the vibe. This is also your chance to look at such things as cleanliness, organization, professionalism, friendliness, etc.
- Schedule – Finally, after you’ve done all of your research, schedule your first appointment for a checkup and cleaning with your top-choice practice. While you should have bi-annual checkups anyway, this visit will also be your final test to ensure that your chosen practice meets all of your needs. Be sure to ask for a complete report of your oral health after your appointment, and be on the lookout for dentists that recommend extensive lists of treatment (e.g. new fillings, crown replacements, oral surgery, etc.), as this may be a red flag. Just make sure that you ask for a written plan that includes all costs. This way, you can assess the necessity for yourself, and weigh whether or not you need a second opinion.
With a little bit of well-informed research, you’ll be able to find your desired, trusty dentist in no time!