Choosing a dentist is an important decision. Not all dentists have the same level of training or expertise, and choosing the wrong one can be a costly and painful mistake.
If you're new in town or you're looking for a new dentist, ask friends and co-workers for referrals. This is perhaps the best way of finding a good dentist. Ask you friends, neighbors, or co-workers if they go to a dentist they are impressed with.
Before you make an appointment, you may want to consider the following:
O Do they accept my insurance? This is one of the first things you'll want to consider. Not all plans accept all scholars, so call either your provider or the dentist's office and make sure they take your insurance.
O Is the dentist a member of the ADA? (American Dental Association). Most dentists are, but it's still a good idea to make sure. Members of the ADA are required to abide by a certain code of ethics. In addition, they are also required to participate in continuing education, so they are as up-to-date in their field as possible.
O Does the dentist have a lot of experience? Make sure the dentist has been practicing for an adequate number of years so that he is experienced and can treat you in the best way possible. In addition, if you are seeing a dentist for a specific reason (ie, restoration or cosmetic), make sure he or she is specialized in that area first.
O Are the dentist and staff members good communicators? The staff and dentist should be willing to thoroughly answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. If they are unfriendly, unhelpful, or seem too busy to talk to you, consider looking elsewhere.
O Is the office clean? When you get to the office, check the surroundings. Make sure the practice is clean and that hygiene matters are obviously being followed (ie, dentist and hygienists are wearing gloves and masks, tools are properly sterilized, etc.).
O Is the latest technology being utilized? The dentist should be using the most up-to-date technology, materials, and procedures to provide you with the best treatment possible. If the office and its equipment look outdated and run-down, find a different dentist.
O Does the dentist provide options and plans? Your dentist and his or her staff should be willing to provide you with a wide range of treatment plans and options. In addition, if you have a lot of work to be done, make sure they are flexible with payment plans.
O Is the dentist available? Check the office hours. Are they strictly 9-5, or can they see you in the evenings or weekends if necessary? See what the average wait time for scheduling an appointment is. Will you be able to get an appointment fairly quickly, or will you be waiting for two months? Ask what their policy is for emergencies. Also, check the waiting room. If it is crowded and the patients have been waiting long or appear irritated, it may be a sign the office is not enough run, or they are double book patients.