Choosing a dentist isn’t an easy decision. In fact, it’s a pretty big one. Your dentist is the person you’ll turn to for all your oral health needs, including routine checkups, cleanings, and treatments. They’ll help you keep your teeth, mouth, and gums healthy. A great dentist will understand how to safely and effectively treat your teeth and communicate with you about your treatment options. But when there’s a whole, long list of options, how do you choose? These tips for choosing a good dentist will help you find a dentist that’s knowledgeable, reliable, and friendly.
Ask for Recommendations
To start, you’ll want to create a list of potential dentists, preferably ones that are members of a professional organization, like the American Dental Association (ADA) or the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Searching the internet is one way to do this, but it isn’t the most effective. Instead, try asking your family, friends, and other healthcare providers for recommendations. If they like their dentist, there’s a good chance you will, too. To narrow down your list, try looking at online reviews. You should steer clear of dentists with several negative comments from their past customers.
Factor in Accessibility
Another tip for choosing a good dentist is to factor in accessibility. Picking a dentist that’s located close to your home or workplace will cut down on transportation expenses and travel time. When it comes to scheduling appointments, flexibility is important. Does the dentist have reasonable office hours? Can they schedule you on a weekend, or sometime after work? If visiting a physical office location is inconvenient, or, given the pandemic, makes you feel unsafe, ask about their telehealth capabilities. It’s in your best interest to search elsewhere if a dentist’s location or hours are inconvenient for you.
Meet for a Consultation
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential dentists, you should call or visit several of them before scheduling your first appointment. If you’re visiting the office, look around. Is the office clean, neat, and orderly? Are the staff members courteous? How do they handle your private medical and dental history? If you plan to take your children there, is the office child-friendly?
When you meet with the dentist, it’s important to ask questions. Are they a member of organized dentistry? Which dental procedures are completed in-office? Which ones are referred out? How far in advance should you schedule regular checkups or cleanings? You should make sure you like your dentist as a person. Look for the qualities of a good dentist. Are they trustworthy? Would you feel safe and comfortable receiving care from them? A dentist’s credentials and experience are important, but so is their communication style. You should choose a dentist that shows interest in getting to know you and will respect both your treatment preferences and decision-making process.