Most people only visit the dental office twice each year. However, the dentist-patient relationship is a long-term partnership. It can have a tremendous impact on your health and self-confidence. Here are six factors you should consider when choosing a dentist:
1. Choosing a Dentist: Look for an In-Network Provider
Selecting an out-of-network dentist means you are responsible for paying a larger share of the bill. Therefore, it is vital to contact your insurance carrier to determine if the dentist is a preferred provider for your plan.
The insurance company can verify the status of a particular dentist. When choosing a dentist, ask for the contact information of three to five nearby dentists who are accepting new patients.
2. Professional Qualifications
While it may seem time-intensive, checking a provider’s credentials is actually easy. In addition, it is an essential step to ensure that you choose the best dentist possible. Ask your insurance carrier for information on each dentist’s training and the length of time that they have been with the company.
National, state and local dental societies can also supply details or confirm information about providers. Every state dental board offers free online research tools. These can help you verify a provider’s current and past license status and learn about any complaints or disciplinary actions.
It is critical that the provider register with your state board. This generally requires dentists to provide proof of education from an accredited program, pass post-graduate exams, carry malpractice insurance and undergo an in-depth background check. Details about dental assistants and hygienists are also available through these channels.
3. The Right Fit
Finding the right fit is a subjective process. Therefore, you may have to meet with multiple providers for a consultation before you make a final choice. One important consideration is the disposition of the entire team.
The receptionist, hygienist, and dentist should all have friendly personalities. This goes a long way in how comfortable you feel. You want to find a caring dentist who gives you their full attention. In addition, they should patiently explain issues and procedures and offer alternative therapies. Finally, they should listens to your concerns and help to put your fears at ease.
4. A Warm, Welcoming Office
The office itself also provides many clues about what the dental practice values. The front desk assistants should be warm and welcoming.
The cozy waiting room should have comfortable chairs, current magazines and clean toys. Dental chairs should be comfortable and clean. Equipment should be up to date to take advantage of the latest technology.
5. Range of Services Provided
Most family dentists are general practitioners. They offer preventative and minor restorative care. A small office with one or two dentists will likely be more personable. However, the range of services they are able to offer might be limited.
During the consultation, ask which procedures they handle in-house and which are sent out for processing. Also, make sure your dentist is prepared to handle emergency situations that arise outside of normal business hours.
Dental procedures can become expensive. Therefore, ask if the provider offers flexible treatment and payment plans.
6. A Good Reputation
You don’t necessarily need an award-winning dentist for traditional preventative care. However, you do want a provider other patients like. A quick Google search can help you find reviews and recommendations.
You can ask for help on social media. Ask your network if anyone recommends a particular dentist. You’ll likely get a range of great leads on providers that you hadn’t yet considered.
After visiting a dentist’s office, take into consideration any red flags. Examples include a crowded waiting room, unclean furniture, equipment that is out of date, unhappy staff members or a demeaning attitude from the dentist.
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