Choosing Your Dentist in 5 Simple Steps

Choosing Your Dentist

Going to the dentist is usually not an appointment many look forward to, but if you want to keep your teeth white and your gums healthy, it’s a necessity. A dentist is more than a professional tooth cleaner. They offer preventative care and inspect other potential abnormalities that you and other doctors may not even notice. Choosing the right dentist to help you take care of your health — and your teeth — can significantly improve your experience. Here are 5 tips to help you find the best possible dentist.

  1. Check With Your Dental Healthcare Plan Provider

Depending on your healthcare plan, you may be limited to certain providers. Some healthcare networks require you to be treated by the providers they cover, and others will simply charge more for seeing out-of-network doctors. Be sure to double-check who your personal plan covers, as this could narrow down your search early on. Usually a simple online search for providers covered by your health care plan will show you exactly which doctors are covered within a specific network and location. If you are not insured, you will want to ask if the dentist offers affordable payment plans for uninsured patients.

  1. Ask Around 

Ask your friends, family and colleagues whom they recommend. Ask what drew them to the dentist they see and what they like. Online reviews can be helpful, but nothing is quite as valuable as a word of mouth recommendation from someone you personally know and trust. Other physicians or pharmacists may also have a good idea of who is accepting new patients in your location as the medical community often tight-knit.

  1. Figure Out What Kind Of Dentist You Need

Determining what kind of dentist you are looking for is another crucial step in locating the right one. There are many different types of dentists. Are you most interested in basic cleanings and checkups? Are you concerned with sleep apnea or teeth grinding? Are you looking for cosmetic dental work? Do you have children that will also need pediatric dental care? Some dental providers have wider skill set and offer specialties that others do not. It’s helpful to think about your dental needs first, so you can find the right dentist.

  1. Meet Them First

Once you have a prospective list, call each office to ask questions, schedule a consultation or even a cleaning. “Meeting potential dentists is an important part of choosing a primary dental office,” says Argyle Family Dental. “If you get a chance, take some time to look around and get a feel for the office space and maybe even speak with an assistant or two. With your comfortability and oral health in their hands, you want to make sure you are relaxed in the overall office environment — not just with the dentist.” Don’t be afraid to ask the right questions. Are they a member of any official dentistry organization? Which procedures do they refer patients to other providers for? How far ahead should you plan on scheduling regular checkups, and how often are they able to get patients in for emergencies? Plus, always ask if there are there any special policies you should be aware of.

  1. Weigh Your Options

Once you have done some research and followed some leads, don’t rush into your decision. Take your time and visualize if this is someone you can see yourself relying on and building a positive relationship with. Ideally, once you have found a dentist you like, you’ll be able to stick with him or her indefinitely. Then, should anything unforeseen happen, your dentist will already have a superior sense of who you are as a person, as well as firsthand knowledge of your dental history. Having a dentist who knows you and your family well can be a blessing in the years to come.

Choosing a Dentist Is an Important Decision

Your dental health is an important part of you overall well-being, so don’t be afraid to be picky. A great dentist is one who takes a holistic approach and is well-versed in preventative care. Make sure the dentist you choose is someone who makes you feel comfortable — even in uncomfortable situations because you will likely find yourself attending dental appointments at least twice a year. Your comfort level is important, as well as finding someone who you feel is an advocate for you personally. If you feel uncomfortable or are otherwise unable to stick with the initial provider you choose, don’t give up. Sometimes it takes another trial run to find the best person to handle your dental care.

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