Though many people make the mistake of choosing a dentist based on proximity to their home or the size of the practice, choosing the right dentist should be an exercise in caution. After all, you will be depending on your dentist to keep your teeth healthy and pain-free. Below are our top tips for finding a competent, professional dentist.
Ask Family, Friends and Co-Workers. In most cases, the best way to find a good dentist is to simply ask family and friends for a recommendation. Co-workers are another great source of recommendations. Since they will have your best interest at heart, you won’t have to worry about winding up with a dentist who has a terrible bedside manner or who is too busy to give you the medical attention you deserve. Nonetheless, it’s important to keep in mind that the ideal dentist for your brother or cousin may not be the ideal dentist for you. The best way to find a dentist that will meet your needs: ask for several recommendations and pay a visit to each dentist on the list. In other words, shop around.
While you are deciding which dentist to use, it’s important to set up an appointment to actually speak with the dentist personally. While a dentist’s office hours, fee schedule, and location might be ideal, the dentist may have an abrasive personality or he or she may strike you as less-than-professional. The personality of the dentist should play just as important a role in your decision as the dentist’s educational background.
Ask your Current Dentist. If you are moving or your current dentist is retiring, ask your current dentist to recommend a new dentist. Be sure to ask for several recommendations so that you can do enough comparison shopping to make an informed decision. Be forewarned, however, that your current dentist may recommend a colleague that is professionally competent but whose office hours or fee schedules are incompatible with your particular needs. For those of you looking for a dentist because you are moving, you might want to consider commuting to the largest nearby city to get the best possible dental care. For example, if you are moving to Concord, Massachusetts, you might want to try to find a dentist in Boston. While dentists in larger cities can be a bit more expensive than their small-town counterparts, the increased cost is often well worth it.
Research Your Options. You don’t just want to find a dentist. You want to find a dentist who perfectly suits your individual needs. In order to do that, you are going to have to do your homework before making a decision. Thanks to the Internet, researching prospective dentists is as simple as entering their names into the search engine of your choice. Pay special attention to office hours; the dentist’s educational background; how long the dentist has been practicing; reviews from current and former patients.
Contact your local or state dental association. The American Dental Association provides a list of local and state dental associations on its website. Your state dental association will be able to provide you with a list of registered dentists in the area. You are going to be relying on your dentist to keep your teeth healthy and pain-free; isn’t it worth the time and effort to do your best to make an informed decision?