Locating a new dentist can be an intimidating experience. There are many options, so how do you know which practitioner is right for you?
Don’t let this concern keep you from seeking the care you need to maintain your dental health: there are easy ways to make the process less stressful.
Here are 10 tips for finding the right dentist.
- Check Experience and Credentials
Even if a dentist works for a dental group that appears to be professional, you may want to look into the specifics regarding where they studied and what makes them qualified to practice.
When you’re seeking a dental professional who is both knowledgeable and trustworthy, keep in mind that some quality dental schools are not very well known. Be sure to do your research to understand whether or not your potential dentist’s training is up to your standards.
- Read Objective Reviews
Reading reviews is an excellent way to gauge how other patients feel about the care they’ve received from your potential provider.
This information is usually available on websites designed to present your options for care within a reasonable distance from your zip code.
Though it’s not always the case, you might steer clear of dentists who have less than 10 reviews. Seek out providers who have earned more than 20 reviews with at least 4 stars to be sure you can rely on them for premium care.
- Understand Office Policies
Sometimes, the environment and vibe of a dental office make all the difference in how you ultimately feel about your experience. It can also influence your likelihood of returning regularly for preventative care procedures.
Before you commit to an appointment, you’ll want to make sure that you are comfortable with all of the office policies regarding health, safety, and medications.
Don’t hesitate to call the office with questions you have about the measures they take to ensure the cleanliness, comfort, and safety of your experience before you go.
Trustworthy dental practices will completely understand your concerns and encourage you to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable visiting their office.
- Determine Their Personal Approach
Finding a dentist you feel comfortable seeing can help calm any anxiety you may have prior to an office visit.
Often, practitioners who take pride in a compassionate approach make it a point to say so. Check a few dentists’ websites and read their profiles on appointment booking apps. You can also get a feel for their personal approach by reading patient reviews.
Still feeling nervous? Give the office a call and let them know you’d like the dentist to contact you to discuss your concerns.
- Research Certifications and Professional Associations
Great dentists are always striving to learn more about how to care for their patients and collaborate with their colleagues in the field.
Do some research to find out if your potential dentist actively attends conferences and obtains certifications for innovative procedures.
Many healthcare professionals of every specialty belong to associations that help them continue to learn and network with others. Dentists often belong to groups like the American Dental Association (ADA).
If you’re having trouble finding this information you can contact the practice directly.
- Consider Your Needs
One of the most important factors you need to consider when choosing a dentist is your individual needs and concerns.
You may want to discuss topics like gum disease, tooth sensitivity, bad breath, benefits of night guards, or alignment options.
Dentists sometimes specialize in one area or another, so pay attention to any information available that indicates a good fit.
- Discuss In-Network Options with Your Insurance
You don’t want to be caught by surprise with overwhelmingly expensive bills after treatment, so it’s important to be certain the dentist you see is within the network your insurance company covers (if applicable).
Insurance companies usually provide tools for locating in-network dentists; regular visits are often free or come with an affordable copay.
- Prioritize Pricing Transparency
Regardless of whether you’ll be paying out of pocket or with insurance, it’s a good idea to know in advance how much you’ll be paying.
Check with your insurance company and review the practice website to get a feel for the cost of various procedures. If it’s still unclear, give the office a call. They can typically offer you an out-of-pocket estimate or copay amount.
If you visit a dentist and they discover you’ll need a procedure you didn’t anticipate, you can ask about the cost before you commit.
Different practices charge different prices for the same procedures. If you can’t pay for an important procedure, request a recommendation for a more affordable dentist.
- Do Their Office Hours and Location Work for you?
When you find a dentist that seems right for you, check out their location and office hours before you call to make an appointment.
Consider how long it will take you to travel to and from the office. If you’ll be visiting the dentist in the middle of a workday, are you able to take that much time off? Do you have reliable transportation to the location?
It’s also important to determine whether or not the practice is open when you are free. While many dental offices are only open on weekdays from about 7 am to 5 pm, some do offer after-hours and Saturday appointments to accommodate busy working people.
- Ask Friends and Family
When in doubt, ask a loved one if they have a dentist they’d recommend.
More often than not the people you trust won’t lead you astray when it comes to finding a dental care professional you can feel comfortable seeing for the first time.
If you’ve been putting off a much-needed checkup or procedure because you don’t have a dentist at this time, don’t wait any longer.
Use these tips to ensure you find a dentist you feel comfortable with, and you’ll be in good hands.