How to Choose a Dentist
When you’re looking for a new dentist, you’re searching for more than someone to just clean your teeth. “Your dental health is such a vital part of your overall health, so it’s important for every patient to have a dental home,” says Dr. Cathy Taylor-Osborne, an ADA dentist and director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Bureau of Oral Health. “That means there is always someone looking out for the best interest of you and your family.”
Start with the Basics
Regular visits are key to a healthy smile, so start with the details that work best with your lifestyle and dental care needs
Launch the Search
Now that you’re looking for a dentist, you’re probably noticing advertisements online, in the newspaper and even in your mailbox. Social media sites may also have patient reviews of dentists near you, but remember that every person’s dental health needs and experiences are their own.
Meet and Greet
To find the right dentist, don’t be shy about calling or visiting the dentists on your list before deciding. “Schedule consultation time with the dentist to meet with the dentist and staff before making an appointment,” Dr. Taylor-Osborne says. “Make a list of questions and bring your records so the dentist can take a look at your dental history if you want to ask something more specific.” You’ll also be able to see if the office is welcoming, comfortable and neat.
Pick a Partner
Above all, you want to choose a dentist who can be a part of your total health care team. “So much of your dental health can impact your overall health,” Dr. Taylor-Osborne says. “Look for someone who can be a coach to motivate you, a trusted advisor to turn to when health issues arise and a partner to make dental care decisions with.”
How to Find a Good Dentist
Overwhelmed by your pick of dentists? Want to make sure you know how to find a good dentist? I’m confident you will have the tools you need to choose the perfect dentist’s office by the end of this article.
Is this provider in your dental insurance network?
US readers: dental insurance, particularly for preventative dental care (such as cleanings), may be a factor in choosing a dentist. Since it doesn’t work the same way as medical health insurance, I’ve outlined a few ways to understand working with a new dental practice below based on your insurance status.
Should you choose a dentist who’s a member of the ADA?
Many insurance plans and other resources (websites, etc.) will recommend you only see a dentist approved or registered with the American Dental Association (ADA). But there are other options out there to find a high-quality dentist.
Are you looking for a functional dentist?
I practice and promote functional dentistry in my family dental practice. In short, this approach to dental care aims to solve problems at their root (no pun intended!) and treat the whole person, understanding that dental health is intrinsically linked to overall health.
What type of dental work are you looking for?
This is paramount to your final decision of which dentist to choose. The answer for how to find a good dentist is tied to what you feel are your greatest dental needs.
How to choose a good dentist
Choosing the right dentist and dental practice is an important decision. This blog outlines the 5 most important points to consider if you need to choose a new dentist. With a little research and knowing the right questions to ask, you should be able to choose a trusted dentist who will care for you and your family for many years to come.
All dentists, dental nurses, dental hygienists, dental therapists and dental technicians must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) before they can legally work in the UK. The GDC is the body which regulates dental professionals in the UK. You can use the GDC website to check whether your dentist is registered, and the type of qualifications they hold. The GDC also provides a useful checklist of the standards you can expect from your dentist
Qualifications and training
All dentists must successfully complete five years of undergraduate training and have a Bachelor of Dental Surgery, with the letters “BDS” or “BChD” after their name. Dental clinicians must also attend regular training to keep their skills and techniques up-to-date. When choosing a dental practice, look for evidence of extra qualifications, skills and interests in specialist areas. Some dentists may have additional expertise in a specialist area, such as caring for anxious patients or offering particular types of cosmetic dentistry. Look out for evidence of their qualifications and skills, or ask the dental practice if unsure.
The dental practice and the dental team
The dental practice you choose should be clean, tidy and well-organised, with welcoming and helpful practice staff. Your dentist should always be professional, approachable, patient and sympathetic with all types of patient, and you should feel comfortable to ask him or her any questions you may have.
Convenient hours and location
Choosing a dental practice which is easy and convenient for you to travel to from home or work will make attending regular checkups easier and help you arrive on time. You may want to look out for a practice offering lunchtime or late appointments if you work full-time. Most practices will also accommodate family bookings, so if you have children, you can all be seen at the same time.
Why It’s Important to Choose the Right Dentist
Your dentist is a health care provider, similar to your personal physician. As you know the importance of choosing the right doctor, the same is true for your dentist.
You may be surprised to learn how many adults do not visit the dentist unless they have an emergency. In many cases, it is not because they cannot afford it, or cannot fit appointments into their schedules. Many people avoid the dentist because of bad experiences they had when they were young.
What If You Need Dental Treatment?
Under ideal circumstances, your experiences with dentistry will include twice-annual exams and cleanings. You will have a dental professional to answer your questions. However, choosing a dentist is also important when you need any type of dental treatment or dental work.
You want a dentist who is fully qualified to treat your particular dental issue. Whether you need implants, a filling for a cavity, or root canal therapy, a dentist’s training and experience will make a difference. Your treatment can be completed without complications, and the least amount of difficulty for you.
You can look at choosing a dentist the same as choosing a personal physician. When you are looking for a dentist who will meet your needs today and in the future, make an appointment to meet the dentist in person. When you see his overall attitude and professionalism helps you feel comfortable and confident, your oral health care will always be a positive experience.
Finding a Dentist
When you’re searching for a dentist, the American Dental Association (ADA) offers these suggestions:
Ask family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers for their recommendations.
Ask your family doctor or local pharmacist.
If you’re moving, ask your current dentist to make a recommendation.
Contact your local or state dental society. The ADA provides a list of local and state dental societies on its web site, www.ada.org. Your local and state dental societies also may be listed in the telephone directory under “dentists” or “associations.”
What Should I Look For When Choosing a Dentist?
You and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners; therefore, you should find someone you can be comfortable with. To find a suitable dentist to meet your needs
consider asking the following questions as a starting point:
What are the office hours? Are they convenient for your schedule?
Is the office easy to get to from work or home?
Where was the dentist educated and trained?
What’s the dentist’s approach to preventive dentistry?
How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
What type of anesthesia is the dentist certified to administer to help you relax and feel more comfortable during any necessary dental treatment?
What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
Is information provided about all fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled? If you are comparison shopping, ask for estimates on some common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, an oral exam and cleaning, and filling a cavity.
Does the dentist participate in your dental health plan?
What is the dentist’s office policy on missed appointments?