The choice of a good dentist is a decision that should be made after careful thought. Today, everyone calls themselves a dentist. But how do you set apart the wheat from the chaff when it comes to selection.
First Things First
Are you searching for a cosmetic dentist or a family dentist? Do you need one who specializes in children? Do you want one who can remove your wisdom tooth, say an oral surgeon? Nowadays, you will realize that dentist’s names end with terms like DDS (doctor of dental surgery) or DDM (doctor of dental medicine). So what’s the difference? Who do you approach? Well, for a start, both dentists have proper training and earned the same degree. According to the American Dental Association, dental specialists recognized include pediatrics, endodontists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, prosthodontists, and orthodontists. But even if you have an idea of what you are looking for, it is important to always start your search with a general dentist.
Here are six more dentist selection tips to help you narrow down your search.
1. Ask for Recommendations
If you are moving to a new place, it is important to ask your current dentist for a recommendation. But that shouldn’t be the end. Check with the neighborhood pharmacist, friends, family and even acquaintances for referrals. If you do not know anyone, you can check online or search in the yellow pages. Also, keep in mind that everything advertised online isn’t necessarily the best.
2. Meet With Him In Person
Personality is one very vital but often overlooked trait when looking for a prospective dentist. It is important to talk to the dentist on the first visit to find out whether you actually like his character. Maintaining a close personal relationship with your dentist can mean all the difference between having a bad dental experience or having the best experience.
3. Evaluate Convenience
Convenience can translate to a number of things- location, office hours, emergency care, fee policies and weekend availability. Are the dentist’s office hours convenient to your schedule? Is the office easily accessible from work or home? Is there adequate information about payment plans before treatment? What arrangements are made for emergency dental care? Evaluate what these factors mean to you before identifying a prospective dentist.
4. Assess the Dentist’s Level of Experience
A dental professional should have a high level of skill backed up with a ton of experience. While dentists usually spend a great deal of time earning a doctorate in school, that alone is not sufficient to qualify them as experts. A dentist who is worth their salt takes the time to complete a complimentary course in a particular profession so as to get additional skills.
5. Evaluate Hygiene Levels
Find out how the dentist cleans his/ her equipment. Most dentists use a combination of an autoclave and ultrasound treatment to clean their instruments. If the potential candidate has never heard of such terms, run away. Additionally, make sure that the office itself looks clean on your first visit.
6. Be aware of Your Insurance Benefits
Once you have narrowed down, it is important to be aware of your insurance claims. For instance, a particular type of insurance might limit your choice of a dentist depending on whether they are on the network or not. Knowing about your type of insurance benefits can help you make an informed decision. In the case that you don’t have insurance, inquire about an in-house plan as it might help you save finances in the long run.
Other Important Considerations:
– Look for a dentist who is keen to details.
– Assess the qualification and experience of the dental staff
– Find out whether the dentist wears protective gear during patient treatment and whether he/she replaces them after each patient
– Find out whether commonly touched surfaces such as X-ray buttons or handles have disposable shields over them
Identifying an excellent dentist is a critical matter and should, therefore, be carefully thought out. Preferably, look for many options, compare and contrast as broadly as you can, then settle for the best choice.