Consider a situation like this — you've moved to a new town, and it's been ages since you've visited a dentist — but now you have a terrible toothache that won't go away!
Dentists have reputations for being scary enough, so it's understandable you take your time to do your research before you pick a family dentist that you and other members of your family can rely on.
Here are a few factors that you should keep in mind while selecting a dentist:
Finances Play a Major Role
The first thing anyone considers before even thinking about making a medical or dental appointment is the cost. The American Dental Association states that 59% of adults avoid the dentist because of dental expenses. When considering the cost of treatment, remember that preventive medicine is cheaper than curing a dental malady.
When you are trying to scout for a family dentist, if finances are your priority, consider these points when selecting a family dentist:
- If the dentist has affordable payment plans
- If the dentist works with most dental insurance plans
- If the dentist will submit an insurance claim on your behalf -- since this will help you maximize benefits and savings.
Consider the Location of the Dentist
A primary factor when picking a family dentist is the location and timing of the dental clinic you are scouting.
- Consider the proximity of the dental clinic to your home
- Also, take into consideration the hours of your work schedule and whether they coincide with the hours of the clinic.
- If they offer interpretation services if English is not your primary language.
You might not think this is an essential factor to consider when you are choosing a dentist, but the proximity of the dental clinic comes into play when you have to visit the clinic regularly.
For example, your teenager is undergoing orthodontic treatment and wears Invisalign. You will need to drive them to change their aligners at least twice a month — at this time, the proximity of the clinic will seem like a huge boon.
Your Level of Comfort With the Dentist
22% of Americans don't visit the dentist because they are scared of the dentist, according to a study by the American Dental Association.
While you might be made of tougher stuff and might not fear to go to the dentist at all, but you will need to establish a level of comfort with your dentist.
One great way to determine whether you will feel comfortable with the dentist during your research is to visit the dental clinic.
Get Recommendations From People Around You
Get recommendations of dentists from the people around you for choosing the right dentist. Ask your family, friends, and people around you for the family dentist they rely on. Having people around you recommend a dentist will help you establish trust in the dentist as well.
Don't Forget to Do Your Own Research
When you are scouting for a family dentist, make sure you do your research — check on the qualifications of the family dentist that you are considering.
Other than checking the qualifications, consider these points:
- Check the patient satisfaction reviews online: Reading what other patients have to say about the dentist can provide an insight into how the dental clinic is operated - how easy it is to schedule an appointment, how friendly the staff and the dentist are, etc.
- Review the dentist's field of expertise: Practicing orthodontics and endodontics is a specialized field of dentistry and requires several years of experience. Look for a dentist who has a specialization suited to your needs and the required years of experience and degrees to go with it.
- Review the technology in the clinic: Dentistry has modernized a lot in recent years' thanks to technology. It will make a difference in your treatment if your dentist has kept up with the latest technological advances and has the dental instruments to make your dental session as painless as possible.
Finding the right dentist for you and your family can make a difference in your oral health and in the long run, your health in general, so be careful of picking the right one!
Shen Chao is part of Dr Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he's gained first-hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he's not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends.
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