You did it! After deliberate research and possibly lengthy fights with your fears, you finally found your new dental practice to help you manage your oral health. Before you give yourself a pat on the back for wisdom and courage, the next step awaits you – scheduling a dentist appointment.
Following through is often a hassle. You may keep telling yourself you will do it, but the task seems overwhelming with all the information you need to provide, your dental history, and the type of appointment you need, that you keep pushing the essential step away. This comprehensive guide will suggest ways to prepare yourself for appointment scheduling to make the process as smooth as possible.
If you need help finding a new dental practice near you, refer to our guide – it will help you narrow down your online search, understand how to utilize various resources, and explain what to look for in a dentist’s office.
Step One: Prepare Your Information and All the Questions
Provided you have already confirmed the practice accepts your dental insurance, keep that information handy in case they need to enter it into their system. If you haven’t done your homework, that might be the first question to ask before taking the time to schedule an appointment. The same applies to all dental discount plans you have. Most offices will perform a pre-verification before getting you on the schedule, but make sure that is the first thing you discuss with the receptionist. Any information the practice collects is protected by federal privacy regulations, such as HIPPA.
While it may not be necessary during the appointment scheduling process, obtain all dental records from previous providers to bring to your appointment. The more organized you are from the beginning, the better. The person scheduling your visit may ask about the contact information of your former dentist to help you transfer all necessary records before your arrival. They may not need every single thing in your file, but the most recent dental x-ray images, office notes, or procedures. It may help you minimize the costs of some unnecessary examinations, such as taking additional x-rays. Keep in mind that many dental practices would like to retake images of your dentition, even if you provide them with the most recent ones since any untreated tooth decay and other dental problems tend to escalate quite rapidly.
You will be asked about the reason for your visit, so it might be a good idea to prepare your rebuttal. Many initial visits are scheduled with a dental hygienist rather than a doctor. If you have dental concerns or are aware of the work that needs to be done, be straightforward that you inquire about a dentist appointment to address these issues.
At the risk of sounding too pedantic or annoying, prepare a list of all the crucial questions you might want to ask the staff. If English is your second language and while you do great at a conversational level, your medical or dental terminology may be insufficient. In that case, ask the receptionist if someone at the office speaks your language or if the practice provides outside interpretation services. Inquire about parking. If limited, you might need to reserve extra time to find a convenient parking spot and make it to your appointment without any delays. The same applies to any special accommodations, such as wheelchairs or walkers.
Whether you are coming for an initial oral exam and cleaning or treatment, ask the person approximately how long the visit will take so you can plan accordingly. If you are undergoing a major procedure, ask about the recommendations, including transportation, dietary restrictions, and amount off of work.
Step Two: Call or Book Your Appointment Online
If you have a list of questions to ask your provider or receptionist, opt for calling instead of booking your appointment online. Many patients suffer from a legitimate form of dentophobia, which can cause significant distress for both parties. If you need special assistance, nitrous oxide, or any other support, make sure to mention that before coming for an appointment. They may be able to help.
There are times when the practice decides not to accept new patients at the time. If that happens, be understanding – after all, you don’t want to be squeezed in and rushed as that lowers the quality of services. Instead, ask for a referral to another clinic or, if you are not in immediate need to see a dentist, ask if they can place you on the waiting list and call when things change.
Early morning appointments usually mean less waiting time and decreased delays. When scheduling an appointment, specify the time you are available so that they can accommodate you according to your needs. If you are coming in for a procedure that requires dietary restrictions, take that into consideration so you can have a meal before the treatment.
It is essential to have realistic expectations regarding your timeframe and the length of the appointment. Make sure you reserve enough time in your daily schedule to fit in the drive to and back from the office and any unexpected delays, so you can feel comfortable during your visit and get everything that you need to be done at one time.
Before calling the office, design a backup plan for a date and time that you are available in case the office is fully booked on your top time slot. If you prefer your initial date and time, but they cannot accommodate you, ask to be placed on a waiting list if someone else cancels. Most dental practices call to confirm your appointment a day or two before your visit. If you do not receive a call, it is always a good idea to phone them to ensure you are still on the schedule.
Most dental offices provide an option of booking your appointment online. It is fast and easy, and if additional information is needed, the receptionist can always call you back. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to book an appointment with your dentist online. Many platforms are convenient and straightforward to navigate.
Once you successfully schedule your first appointment with a dentist of your choice, you can finally take care of your oral health. A qualified professional with his or her team of experts can make the process entirely pain-free. Stop postponing your naturally beautiful smile and schedule an appointment today!