How to Choose a Dentist
Dental health is a vital part of your overall health, so it is important to find a good dentist that you trust and with which you feel comfortable. Do not wait until an emergency to choose a dentist—it may take some time to find the right dentist for you and it is more difficult to get an appointment with a dentist on an emergency basis if you are not an existing patient of their practice. There are several things that you should consider when searching for and choosing a dentist.
Start Your Search
There are many dentists to choose from, so it may be hard to know where to begin your search. One easy way is to ask for recommendations from your friends, family, and doctor. If you are moving to a new city, ask your current dentist if they have any recommendations. Your dental insurance company or state dental society will likely have resources that include a listing of dentists in your area. You can find a list of local and state dental societies from the American Dental Association (ADA).
Factor in Accessibility
Once you have some potential options, consider the location of the office and the hours they are open. It is a good idea to choose a dentist that is close to home or work, because that will make it easier to schedule visits and arrive on time. Also, make sure the office is open during the hours that you would be able to visit.
Another aspect to consider is how easy it is to communicate with the dentist. How far in advance do you have to schedule appointments? What happens if you have an emergency during normal office hours, at night, or on the weekend? It should not be hard to communicate with your dentist and there should be a method of contacting them at all times.
Research the Dentist
Learn more about the qualifications of a potential dentist, including their background and training. It is usually easy to find information about a dentist’s qualifications. The process for a dentist to become licensed varies from state to state, but there are some basic requirements. Make sure a potential dentist meets these requirements and has a current license. You should be able to find this information on their state licensing board’s website. To further research a dentist, read online reviews to see what patients have said about them.
First, make sure you know your dental health benefits. If you have dental insurance, make sure the dentist accepts your insurance. Ask about the costs for different procedures and the payment options they have available. Cost does vary from dentist to dentist, so you should find a dentist that has the best costs and payment options for you.
Schedule a Consultation
Once you narrow down your search to a few potential dentists, call the office and/or schedule a visit. See for yourself if the office is comfortable and welcoming. Talk to the dentist about your dental history, and make sure they understand your concerns and answer any questions you may have. Decide if you would trust that dentist to perform procedures and give you sound advice.
After doing your research, making sure a dentist’s accessibility and costs are acceptable, and talking to or visiting the office, choose a dentist that is qualified, that you trust, and that you feel comfortable with.