Beautiful smiles make great first impressions, and beautiful smiles require routine, restorative, and sometimes cosmetic dental care. Dental health is more than just clean teeth. It is an essential part of overall health. Finding a new family dentist can be challenging, but keep reading for great tips on finding just the right one.
Begin With the Basics
Individuals who need a new family dentist should check their health insurance dental benefits or supplementary dental benefits to determine what dentists are in the network. Healthcare providers usually have a list of participating local providers. This is found on the insurer’s website or through the human resources department of the insured. Look for an office that is close to work and home and that has convenient office hours.
Ask Local Friends and Family for Referrals
Before scouring the internet and becoming overwhelmed when you need a new family dentist, ask trusted friends and family for their recommendations. Ask them why they recommend the dentist and what procedures the dentist has performed for them. A family physician or primary care physician can often provide referrals as well. Families moving to a new area can even ask their current dentist if they know of a recommendation in the new neighborhood.
A local health department can be a place to begin a search if an individual is new to an area or neighborhood. Several good online dentist search sites will indicate whether dentists are licensed and whether they have any outstanding complaints filed against them.
Meet and Greet
Consider setting up an appointment to visit and consult with a dentist before making a dental appointment. Prepare a list of questions and take any dental records along so the dentist can answer any questions to the best of their ability.
This visit also provides an opportunity to interact with the office staff and determine if the environment is friendly and welcoming. Be observant during the visit. Notice if the dentist and staff wear gloves and other protective gear during treatments. Check to see if surfaces and equipment are clean and neat.
Questions to Ask a Potential Dentist
Always ask if medical and dental history will be recorded and put in a permanent file. Find out if the office is familiar with your dental insurance and if they have other payment options if treatment is not covered under insurance. Ask how the dentist handles emergencies when they arise outside of office hours. Finally, make sure that the dentist is willing to explain dental procedures needed and ways to help prevent dental health problems.
Consider asking a dentist what kind of anesthesia they perform in their office. Are they able to administer more than local anesthesia to help with any anxiety issues? Ask about their credentials and certifications. A dentist should be licensed and certified and regularly attend conferences and continuing education workshops. What is their policy on missed appointments?
Family dentists perform many services, ranging from routine dental cleanings to cosmetic dentistry, endodontics, and even orthodontics. Ask about the specialties that may be upcoming for family members. Prosthodontists restore and replace broken or missing teeth, but many family dentists can perform these treatments. Often family dentists provide cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening in their office.
Oral health is essential to overall good health. Be sure to find a dentist who will partner to provide excellent care for the whole family for many years.