I will admit here to a dirty little secret. I went years without getting a regular dental cleaning because I felt my prior dentist gouged me on recommending services I didn’t need.
When I finally convinced myself it was time to get a dental cleaning, I went about looking for a new dentist. I hope the following tips can help you as I did find a great dentist that I really like and that treats me well.
5 Best Tips For Finding A New Dentist
1. Consider the Location of the Dentist
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of free time during the week when dentists are normally available. Therefore, when I was looking for a new dentist I started with a local search. I simply went into google and searched for dentists within 3 miles of my house.
I ended up finding one just down the street. It takes me roughly 3 minutes to get to and from the dentist. I also made sure that they were accepting appointments during days and times when I knew I would be available.
2. Get Some Recommendations
Next, I started asking around for recommendations. For me, I’m lucky enough to also work close to home so I asked my clients who they use.
In your case, think about the people you know that you trust and respect. Chances are that they won’t have a dentist that they dislike. Typically people who make good choices in life also make good choices in dentists.
However, maybe you just moved to town and you don’t know anyone yet. You’re stuck with finding a dentist on your own. That’s when you consider looking at reviews for dentists online.
I prefer Google for business reviews. Typically that is a decent representation of people’s impressions of a dentist.
The patient reviews are about whether the dentist managed to treat each person accordingly, depending on the dental conditions they were suffering from; the patients can talk about their experience regarding wait time, scheduling appointments, whether the office staff was friendly, and how the office environment is.
3. Website Particulars
After coming up with a list of dentists who can offer quality services, you can go ahead and look into their official website. A professional dentist will have a good and presentable website. The website will have details about their practice, staff, and their strengths. Patient reviews should also be present on the website.
Check their availability in terms of hours and days open. Do they offer emergency service? Are they comfortable with referring you to a specialist if needed?
4. Safety – How Are They Dealing With Covid-19?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, health practitioners such as dentists have been forced to enforce specific protocols in a bid to ensure the virus will not spread further. Operatory and safety measures have been put in place with regard to dental care.
What you don’t want to see is a cavalier attitude about Covid-19. At my dentist, they went above and beyond in keeping their staff and patients safe. When I went for my dental cleaning this past summer I felt very confident that they were doing all they could to keep me and their staff safe.
5. The First Visit – How Did It Go?
The very best service you should ever get from your dentist is at the first visit. They know that you haven’t committed to them yet and they should be trying to earn your trust.
Did they call you ahead of time so you were prepared with all the proper paperwork before you arrive?
When you got in the chair, did they work to make you comfortable? Any small talk?
At any point during the visit did they recommend advanced dental procedures? My prior dentist was always talking to me about getting veneers at every visit. My new dentist has never mentioned them.
Don’t feel bad if you go to your first visit and you decide it’s not for you. You may not choose the right dentist for you the first time. Give yourself permission to shop around again if that first choice doesn’t work out.
What Happens Before the Appointment?
Before the appointment, you should plan enough time off from school if you are a student. By doing so, you will not be anxious with regard to the time factor. After booking an appointment, consult with the dentist, and they will enlighten you about how long the dental procedure will take.
You can then add some time to that since the procedure may take longer than expected. If you opt for an end-of-day appointment, you can go straight to your home after visiting the dentist.
It is advisable for the people with dental insurance to look into whether your preferred dentist is present in the network. In the process, you will save a significant amount of money. At times, you may be forced to top up the balance after the insurance firm has paid the dentist. If you don’t have an insurance cover, you should try to estimate the amount you will spend after visiting the dentist.
On the day of your appointment, you should arrive early to fill in the paperwork. The staff will then have enough time to set up everything. Ensure you have identification documents such as a driver’s license. People with an insurance policy should carry their insurance card since they are supposed to produce it at the reception desk.
What Happens During Routine Cleaning?
During the routine visits, the dental hygienists will place a piece of plastic cloth on your chest. Some dentists usually provide their patients with eye shields. A tray will be present, and it will have some metallic tools. The hygienist will use each of these tools as they scrape any plaque that may have built up over time on the surface of your teeth. The dentist may also floss between the teeth.
If you experience any pain during the cleaning process, always inform the dentist. You can also take a break whenever you need one.
Choosing a new dentist is one of the most important health decisions you will make. Finding someone that you like and feel comfortable with can make a huge difference in whether or not you follow their recommendations.
Take your time and follow the above steps. Don’t settle for someone you don’t really like.