Choosing the right dentist for your oral health care needs is important–especially since this is the individual who will be entrusted not only with providing dental services, but also valuable advice about how to establish, maintain or improve your oral health. You will want to form a close, friendly and supportive relationship with your dentist, and know with absolute certainty that they are willing and able to answer all your questions and address all your concerns so that you can make your own informed decisions. But how can you make sure you choose the right dentist?
Making An Informed Choice
When choosing a dentist, it is best to take your time so that you can consider many different factors. This means that it is not wise to wait until you are experiencing a dental emergency to find a dentist because in this case you will likely end up making a decision based on just a couple rushed factors–like their availability or close proximity. Following are just a few of the things you should consider as part of choosing a dentist:
- Office location and hours. Ideally, your dentist’s office will be located near your home or work so that you don’t have to drive far out of your way for visits. This will make it easier for you to schedule the twice-yearly examinations and cleanings that are important to maintaining your oral health, in addition to any urgent or emergency visits. You will also want to ensure that the office hours will allow you to schedule visits on days and at times that will work well for you.
- Financial policies. While stellar dental care should be your top priority, the cost of dental care is also very important. You will want to find out whether your chosen dentist accepts your dental insurance, whether they offer several different types of payment options, and what their general dental procedure fees are like.
- Professional qualifications. It is absolutely vital that you only receive dental care from professionals with the best training and experience possible. You should be able to ask any question and get a direct, honest answer that makes you feel comfortable with their knowledge and certainty.
- Personal comfort. While it may be true that your dentist knows exactly what to do in order to establish, maintain or improve your oral health, you don’t want them to operate independently and without your knowledge or consent. Your personal comfort in knowing that you can trust your dentist, that you can ask your dentist any question you may have, and that they will always take the time to listen to your questions and concerns, explain procedures and be open and honest with you, is very important.
- Emergency care procedures. If you were to have a dental emergency, it is important to know where to turn. You do not want to have to go to a hospital emergency room, but rather to your dentist’s office–or a reasonable and acceptable alternative–for the emergency dental care you need.
- Dentist licensing. Of course you want a dentist who is appropriately licensed through the state, and who has not had any unresolved disciplinary actions taken against them.
Even with this extensive list of what to look for in a choosing a dentist, you may still wonder where to start your search. Instead of running a random search on your own, consider contacting your family members, your friends or even your physician for recommendations. You should ask them how long they wait for their appointment, how comfortable they feel asking questions of their dentist, how well their dentist answers their questions, addresses their concerns and explains their treatment options, how the office handles dental emergencies, how far in advance appointments must be set, how billing is handled and any other pertinent questions. You may also want to consider calling your dental insurance company to find reputable dentists in your area that are covered by your plan and your state’s dental association to find dentists in your area who are highly rated. Take your time, do your research, and you are bound to choose a dentist who will not only perform the quality work you most desire, but in a way you feel most comfortable with.