Many people associate a visit to the dentist with fear, pain, and an irresistible urge to run away. Keep in mind that modern dental medicine is a highly developed field, and an experienced dentist performs most treatments efficiently and painlessly. In this article, we will provide criteria to consider when choosing the right dentist for your family’s needs.
When looking for a dentist’s office, always refer to its website as it is essentially the practice’s business card. Reputable dental offices will provide vital information about the equipment they use, the services they offer, and the team of experts that will be taking care of your dental affair. The better the equipment, the more comfortable the treatment and the more effective its results. The latest treatment techniques significantly reduce the pain of the procedures. Modern dentistry is focused on implementing advanced tools to generate better outcomes and provide a heightened patient experience.
Finding the Right Dentist
Finding a qualified dentist is a dilemma many patients face, both those who regularly care for their teeth and those seeking one-time help. When choosing a dentist’s office, pay attention to its reputation, both online and offline, opinions of the patients, affordability, and insurance coverage.
Criteria 1: Is your dentist in your dental insurance network?
Finding a dentist requires collaboration with your dental insurance provider, which will give you an idea of how much you will pay for the services. Your insurance package should provide you with a list of participating dentists near you, or you can refer to their website for information regarding coverage and in-network providers. If you get your insurance through work, inquire about that information with the HR of your company.
Criteria 2: Should I look for an ADA-approved dentist?
While most insurance plans and other resources might suggest seeing a dentist who is a registered or an approved member of the American Dental Association (ADA), that is not always an indicator that other practitioners are less qualified. If a dentist does not find ADA recommendations to be based on concrete evidence, they may opt from becoming a member to avoid following its guidelines. As long as the dentist of your choice is a qualified Doctor of Dentistry, he or she may be an excellent addition to your health and beliefs. Many functional dentists are affiliated with various elite organizations other than ADA and have a thriving practice delivering exceptional results.
Criteria 3: What dental services are you seeking?
If you are a regular patient, who follows dental hygiene recommendations and periodic follow-ups, you possibly have many available options. Choose a local dentist office where you feel comfortable, safe, and confident in their abilities.
Dentistry is a vast field with various subspecialties. If you have sleep issues, apnea, or bruxism, you might want to consider a sleep medicine dentist who knows the ins and outs of your specific concern. Maybe you’re the parent seeking a professional but friendly approach to pediatric dentistry – look for an office that has experience working with children and has all the available options for making the visit less difficult. Other areas of expertise include orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, and dental surgery.
Criteria 4: Does the practice offer translation services?
While speaking adequate conversational English, maneuvering medical terminology is often a challenge. Many native English speakers have trouble understanding the gibberish of medicine, let alone a person whose English is a second language. Ask if the participating provider has such options available. You may not be able to bring a personal translator every time you have an appointment. Many dental practices offer various means of translation, such as over the phone interpreters.
Criteria 5: What do people say?
Family and friends can be an excellent resource when it comes to referring professional services. They may share wisdom based on their own experience, and what a more reliable way than to trust the ones closest to us? If you need further proof, pay attention to the beautiful, radiant smile they share with others and jump at the opportunity to ask for a number.
Criteria 6: Do they have a solid reputation online?
Although online reviews should be taken with a grain of salt as many patients rush to smear the reputation for a single incident, many times unrelated to the professionalism, they can still be a good source of information. Former or current patients speak from their own experience and offer valuable feedback for potential clients.
Criteria 7: What are the office hours of the practice?
Whether the dentist you are pursuing has extended office hours and works on weekends is an excellent question to ask before committing to the practice. If you have a working family, who barely has time to sit down to a meal together, a dentist with convenient hours of operation is a treasure. Having unbearable pain at an unfavorable time of the day or week and a dentist with limited appointment availability or shortened hours can also become troublesome. Try locating a practice that will always find time to fit you in for emergencies.
What Are the Red Flags?
While we would like to think that practicing providers have your best interest at heart, sometimes the reality may prove otherwise. As unfortunate as it is, there are a few things to look out for when finding the right dentist for your family’s needs:
Impatient or disrespectful staff
We all know the feeling of walking into the unknown and being greeted with rude behavior from the employees. A professional dentist ensures the staff he or she employs has not only a great work ethic but also common manners expected in any setting where the client-provider relationship is involved. Many patients are anxious before even meeting a dentist, and the office staff should be your confidant in ensuring your experience is as pleasant as possible.
An office that is falling into pieces
Although not every great dentist needs to submit to upgrading and modernizing their interior, a practice that floods in dirt and lack organization is your sign to run. Take a closer look around when you step inside: is the bathroom clean? Are the countertops sparkling? What is the condition of the floor? If all the above fall below your expectations, what can you expect from the dental chair and equipment?
A dentist who limits your treatment options or does not keep you informed
When undergoing any medically-related procedures, we want to know our options and preferably see a detailed plan of action. If the treatment is limited, ask for dental documentation and go for a second opinion. A professional and confident dentist will not discourage nor get in a defense-mode upon your request. Intense skepticism and rude remarks are a good indicator that it may not be the right fit for your needs.