Choosing the right dentist for you

Are you looking for a new dentist?  Maybe you’ve moved, are new to the country or are simply looking to upgrade.  Regardless of the reason for your search, finding a dentist that you trust is the only acceptable outcome.  After all, this is the person who will be responsible for you and your family’s oral health, so make sure you choose correctly.  Unfortunately, finding the right dentist for you isn’t always as easy as it sounds, which is why we’re giving you our best advice to help you find the right one.

Before we get into helping you find a great dentist, we want to reiterate why you really need to take your time to make your decision.  We won’t state the obvious, like “You need professional dental care to have good oral health”, instead you should just think about it like this – your dentist has a lot of responsibility, so you’ll want someone who you can see regularly and establish a relationship with.  Having a rapport with your dentist means that they will have a better picture of your oral health, your home care routines and will be familiar with your medical history.  This will help in identifying problems and potential treatment options as well as helping you feel a lot more comfortable with someone you know, especially if your family’s oral care is at stake too.

There’s lots of other reasons you need a good dentist but then you’d be reading all day, so instead, let’s move onto the section about how to find a new dentist.

The easiest way to go about finding a new dentist is to make a list (like the sample below) that outlines your requirements and things you need (or want) from your new dentist.

Initial things to consider when looking for a dentist:

  • Is the dental office easy for you to get to from where you live or your work?
  • Are appointment times available that suit your schedule (like weekends of after work appointments)?
  • Is the office easy to access for you and your entire family?  Think about your kids, any handicaps or seniors if these considerations apply.
  • Is the dentist available to provide emergency dental care after normal business hours?
  • Does the dentist offer oral surgery or have connections with an appropriate clinic?
  • Is there an onsite orthodontist available?
  • Is paediatric care (children’s dentistry) available from this dentist?

Location specific considerations:

  • Is the office or waiting area clean and comfortable?
  • Are the tools and working space up to date?
  • Are the staff friendly and helpful?
  • Is the location wheelchair accessible (if applicable)?
  • Is there parking available at the location?
  • Is the office location accessible by public transit?

Meeting your dentist:

Remember, the dentist and dental staff are there for your health.  To ensure you’re getting the best care you should be an active participant during your appointments and consults so you can make the correct, informed decisions.

  • Do you get a good feeling from your dentist (sympathetic, trustworthy, focused on your care)?
  • Speak to your dentist about any possible oral health concerns you may have.
  • Ask your dentist about the dental exam, the diagnosis and the treatment plan.
  • Ask what your dentist recommends in terms of home care between appointments.
  • Get an idea of the costs of common treatments like dental cleanings, cavities etc.
  • Know and ask about your current dental insurance coverage and how it affects payments, appointments, treatments etc.
  • Ask to see your dentists’ professional qualifications.

Help finding a dentist near you

Now that you have a list of criteria your new dentist should meet, you need to go about actually finding some dentists.  There are lots of ways you can go about this, as outlined below:

  • Get recommendations – this means speaking to your friends, relatives, coworkers or even your physician or pharmacist.
  • Get a referral from your doctor or current dentist.
  • Check professional listings online.
  • Phone your health insurance company for recommendations (if applicable).
  • Hit the streets in your neighbourhood to see what’s available.
  • Check with the nearest dental college if possible.

Finding the right dentist for you is paramount to your continued oral health and overall well-being.  Your dentist is someone who you should be seeing regularly (at least twice a year) because at home dental care just doesn’t cut it.  This isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly, so do your homework and make an informed decision. 

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