Have you ever wondered how to choose a dentist? As a pediatric dental hygienist we often “graduate” our patients to a general dentist when they turn around 18 years old.
A common question I get asked by parents is, “How do I find a good dentist?” My patients parents often ask me for my recommendations on a good dentist and how they can find the perfect dentist.
Your mouth is the pathway that leads into your body. What happens in your mouth can affect your overall health. So you want to ensure that you take proper care of your mouth and that you are in good oral health.
Good dental hygiene practices include brushing and flossing. But no matter how good your home care is, you still need regular dental examinations. Having an experienced dentist who regularly checks your teeth is a must.
A good strategy to guaranteeing that your gums and teeth stay healthy is to go for regular dental cleanings and exams. However, finding the right dentist to take care of your teeth can be a challenge. If you are looking for the right steps on how to choose a good dentist, keep reading to find out.
I will share with you a proven process on how to evaluate dentists, how to choose a dental office, and how to select a good dentist. But how do you know how to find an experienced oral health professional? What are the qualities of a good dentist?
What makes a good dentist?
- Listens to concerns
- Eases anxiety
- Discusses all treatment options
- Guide you in decision making
- Discuss medical history and previous dental issues
- Offer payment options
- Stays up to date on current dental education
A good dentist shows their professionalism in the way that they handle your concerns and fears. They will never dismiss your anxiety but will always take care of complaints seriously. Their goal is not to detect to you what to do but to tell you what your options are. The right dentists will guide you as you make a decision. While they may have a preferred choice, they will never get upset if you go for something else.
Medical history is also important to an oral health professional. They will want to find out if you’ve had previous cases that could influence your dental situation and won’t mind should you choose to seek a different opinion.
Payment plans are something that a good dentist is open to discussing. This helps them to determine how routine preventative care will be administered if you cannot foot the bills at the time. If your dentist has your interests at heart, they won’t focus on forcing products and processes on you. Your dentist should be one that is more concerned about providing comprehensive care rather than looking at issues in isolation. Expect that they will fully examine every part of your mouth.
With the changes that constantly occur in the dental industry, a good dentist should take continuing education seriously. This will help them to stay up-to-date and relevant in the industry.
How to choose a good dentist
Your dentist should be someone you feel comfortable with and trust. Waiting until you have a dental issue before seeking out a professional is not the best method. It is important to have an expert that you can count on at any time. One that can conduct the needed checks, treatments, and a biannual dental cleaning.
Before picking a dentist, I made sure to study the qualities of a credible professional.
- Find a good dentist that is close to your location
There are good dentists in many dental clinics but it is important to find one that is in close proximity to where you reside or work. That way, keeping to appointments will be easier and you can plan them to fit your schedule. Also, verify the work times and days of the dental office. This helps you to schedule appointments to suit your needs.
It is also important that your dentist be nearby in case of a dental emergency. A toothache can be some serious pain and trust me you don’t want to have to travel further than necessary to get help.
2. Consider the cost implications
If you have dental insurance, hopefully you can find a good dentist that accepts your dental coverage. Check out their payment options to determine whether you can foot the bills in a convenient way. Need help picking the best dental insurance? Check out this article on how to find the right dental insurance.
Do they work with payment plans, checks, as well as credit cards? Find out how much you have to spend on basic procedures such as dental cleanings and examinations.
Also check pricing on restorative work & dental procedures such as root canal therapy, fillings and crowns. While you may be more open to considering a cheaper dentist, you should learn to look beyond price. Getting the best care might mean sacrificing some extra cash for the right dentist.
3. Qualifications and credentials
Another important step on how to choose a dentist is to consider their qualifications. The dental office should provide information to show the level of training. Does the dental clinic also have professional policies when it comes to infection control? Should you notice any hint of hesitation on the part of the staff to answer your queries, simply look elsewhere.
The educational background of your dentist is important. Are they members of a professional organization such as the American Dental Association? To verify the license of your dentist, you can check with your state dental board. Your insurance provider may provide you with details about a dentist or you could get the information from the local dental society.
4. Do you feel comfortable?
Set up a meeting to meet the dentist. This helps you to evaluate how you feel about them. Remember that trust is an important element between a doctor and patient. Feel free to ask questions and express your concerns. Find out everything you need to know about the procedures and policies employed by the dentist.
5. Do they offer emergency care?
Some situations may happen after regular work hours. Does your dentist guarantee that you can get emergency care when necessary? Include this in your strategy on how to pick a good dentist. Make sure they are easily accessible and can be reached at any time.
6. What do others say about them?
A professional dentist should have a dental website for their dental practice. Visit the website and see how much information you can find. Check to see what others are saying about them in terms of testimonials and reviews. This will help you to determine the kind of experience that they deliver to their patients.
7. Ask around
Ask friends and family for their recommendations on a good dentist in your area. I often see people ask on Facebook for dentist recommendations. I love reading the comments on these posts to see what people say. This may be the best way to find a good dentist because people will tell you from their personal experience.
As you go through the process of picking a dentist, trust your instincts. Always check reviews and ask for personal recommendations. You should feel comfortable with your new dental office.
Hope this article helps you choose the right dentist for you!
Kelly Hancock, RDH