It would be nice to just pick the first dental office that you pass on the street, but you have to take better care of your teeth (and your pocket book) by choosing the right dentist to suit your needs. Here are five questions to ask yourself when choosing the right dentist for you:
Will your insurance pay for this dentist? Insurance has changed quite a bit since the good old days, so you want to make sure that the dentist you choose falls within your dental network. This means that a dentist that falls within a dental network has some type of contractual agreement/approval by your insurance company. Your insurance company might pay a portion of your bill for a dentist who fails to fall within the dental network; however, if the bill is more than the insurance feels it needs to be, this leaves you to pay the difference. Call your insurance office to find out if a particular dentist falls within the dental network.
How long has this dentist been in practice? It is important to check out as to just how long a dentist has been practicing in your town. Check around with friends and acquaintances to see what you can find out about a particular dentist. How is his/her bedside manner? Is this dentist long on patience? Does this dentist listen to the patient’s concerns or just forge ahead with information? What is this dentist’s attitude toward children? (You might be an adult, but a dentist who holds a poor bedside manner/attitude with children might indicate impatience.) Does the office staff stay with this dentist, or does the office help turn over quickly?
Does this dentist have his license clearly posted? You want to make sure the dentist you choose is properly licensed. You can visit dentalfearcentral.org to check the licensing for a particular dentist in your country. Also, be sure to look on the walls of the dental office when you visit. A licensed dentist needs to have his credentials clearly posted for public view. Too, it’s important to inspect the cleanliness of the dentist. Is the dental office bright? Is it in tidy? Do the floors look like they get swept on a daily basis? Is the air stale in the dental office? Are boxes of latex gloves visible in the examination room, and does the staff/dentist use these gloves?
How does this dentist’s prices compare? Call this dental office and ask about prices on some common procedures (such as dental cleaning and filling). Then call some other reputable dental offices and compare the prices. If the dentist you are considering has higher rates, call back and ask why the rates are higher. (It never hurts to ask.) Does this dentist charge for cancelld visits? This is an important question because emergencies do come up, especially if you have children. Too, sometimes work emergencies come up. Does this dental office understand such emergencies, or will they charge you if you fail to give a twenty-four hour notice?
Does it take months to get in to see this dentist? When you need a dentist, you don’t likely have months to wait. A long waiting line could indicate that a dentist is a good one. Even so, what do you do while you wait to get in for your appointment? If you are waiting to get your teeth cleaned, you can likely afford to wait. If you have a toothache, though, you really can’t afford to wait months. So, think twice before you choose a dentist who holds a huge patient overload. You need a dentist who can work you in should you need it. Too, you need to be able to schedule an appointment and get in within two weeks from the date of scheduling.