Mind and Body

How to find the right dentist

If you’ve moved towns or waited longer than you should for a check-up, you’ll probably need to look for a new dentist. Choosing the right dentist is an important decision that can sometimes mean the difference between good oral health and rotten teeth, so it should not be made lightly. For more nervous patients, finding a dentist that you feel comfortable with will also help turn a daunting dental procedure into a more pleasant experience. Here are five tips to help you find the best dentist for you.

Call your insurance company
For those with a dental plan, your first step when switching dentists should be to contact your insurer. Some insurance companies only deal with specific networks of dentists, so your choice may be limited, depending on your cover. Staying within this network can also afford you extra benefits, so be sure to inquire about your plan before making any appointments.

Personal recommendations
If you’re relocating, ask your current dentist to recommend someone in your new hometown. Neighbors, friends or even the local family doctor or pharmacist might also refer someone to you. Speaking with other patients will help give you an idea of the style, personality and price of your perspective dentist.

Contact your dental society
A little research goes a long way when choosing your new dentist, and there are plenty of resources online at your disposal. The American Dental Association’s website contains directories of local and state dental societies, where you can seek referrals. There are also a number of sites where patients post reviews and recommendations from their experiences with dentists. While these can often provide some useful insights, it’s important to take some reviews with a pinch of salt.

Schedule a dental exam
Research and recommendations are always useful, but the only way to ensure that you’ve found the right dentist is by scheduling an appointment. You can utilize this first-hand experience to evaluate a prospective dentist, before making any final decisions. Check that the facilities are clean and orderly, and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible. Did the staff seem to take a personal interest in your dental health? Did you have trouble communicating your concerns? Remember, you and your dentist should both agree upon a clear vision for the future of your dental health. A good dentist should be interested in prevention, and use modern techniques and procedures to treat patents.

Weigh the pros and cons
Even when you’ve found the perfect dentist, certain factors can still make regular visits impractical. If the office is located too far from your home or workplace, you may wish to reconsider your choice. Similarly, you’ll need to check their operating hours to ensure that it suits your own schedule. Some dentists may have a limited schedule, only working mornings or select weekdays. Others can have long waiting lists, making it difficult to schedule appointments. Depending on your timetable, you may wish to hire a dentist who operates during evenings and weekends.