Are you looking for a new dentist for you and your family?

Much like the process of choosing a primary care physician, it can take some time to find the right dentist for you and your family. But once you find the right fit, a trip to the dentist will soon become an anxiety-free visit with a trusted partner in your oral healthcare. Here are some tips to consider when starting your search for a new dentist. 

1. Get referrals from friends and family

The American Dental Association recommends making an appointment to see your dentist two times a year. During these visits, you’ll get cleanings, check-ups and treatment for any concerns that arise. These appointments are fairly frequent and you’re going to want to make sure you’re spending this time spent with someone whom you trust and whose staff is helpful and pleasant. Oftentimes, it can be a good first step to ask people whom you trust if they recommend the dentist they’re seeing. The list of people you ask can include friends and family — it can even include your physician, if you feel comfortable. When doing so, be sure to ask questions about what they like and don’t like about their experience. 

2. Learn about the dentists experience

Oftentimes, dentists will include information about themselves on their practice’s website. Reading this should give you a feel for who they are: Where they are from, where they went to school and where they’ve practice dentistry before. This will also be the place where you can learn more about extra training they’ve gone through, any awards they’ve received and any involvement in dental or community organizations. Taking in all of this information can a good way to learn more about your prospective dentist prior to meeting them. 

3. Read patient reviews

In the same way that you might buy a car or hire a contractor to work on your house, you will want to read your prospective dentist’s reviews. It will take a little bit of time, but it will end up being worth it for the sake of you and your family. Start by searching the dentist’s name or the practice name in Google followed by the city and state where they work. This will take you to their Google My Business profile which contains a tab for the Google reviews on the practice/dentist you are researching. This research can offer helpful insight. 

4. Check which services they offer 

When looking for a dentist, one thing you will want to consider is the types of services they and their practice offers. While cleanings and X-rays are common services you will experience during your regular dental exam appointments, you will want to consider any treatments that you’re considering or any future treatment you or your family members might require in the future. Whitening and cosmetic veneers are some examples of elective treatments you might be currently interested in, whereas root canal therapy and dental implants are treatments for problems that might crop up later. You might want to review these services and decide whether you’re alright being referred to another provider for any treatment not listed.  

5. Understand what your insurance covers

While it is important to find the right fit with your dentist’s personality and experience, you’ll also want to do research on your insurance provider’s dental coverage. Many insurance providers have websites with search tools for finding dentists within their network of care, so you may have the option of using the tool to search whether your insurance will cover any of the providers recommended to you. Another way to go about it, especially if you have a list of dentists that you’re interested in, is to call into the dental office you’re interested in and ask whether they accept your insurance. 

6. Learn the dentists communication style.

Prior to choosing a dentist and becoming a patient, you can schedule a consultation appointment with a prospective dentist. Other people choose to go ahead and schedule an appointment and go from there — keep in mind there is no long-term commitment. With either route, during your first meeting with your dentist, try to determine their communication style. Remember, you’ll need to be able to talk to this person about your concerns, worries, wants and needs. You’ll need them to be able to clearly communicate to you their opinion, your options and everything you should consider when making decisions about your oral health. Take note of what type of communication style you appreciate and consider sharing this with your dentist. All of this will help in establishing a relationship of trust between you and your dentist.  

7. Make sure your dentist understands your medical history

One important step in finding the right dentist is making sure that your dentist understands any medical conditions you have. While it is often something you can address with intake paperwork, this could also act as a deciding factor in the dentist you choose. By sharing any underlying medical conditions with prospective dentists, you have the chance to learn if they have a plan in place to deal with these conditions, allowing you to determine if you’re comfortable with those plans. 

While choosing a family or general dentist may seem daunting, the task is made easier by following these simple steps. The goal is to find a dentist who is a true partner in maintaining your oral health and the oral health of your family. 

Please contact us at Island Family Dental if you or a family member is looking for a new dentist.  We would be please to meet with you.   Please call (360)718-8861 or send us a message 

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