If you’re hesitant or even scared of going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Many people feel the same way, and it’s affecting the health of this country. Oral health is a vital component of your overall wellbeing. Just like medical doctors, dentists are your partners in health. They want you to enjoy life to the fullest, and you can’t do that if you’re sick or in pain.
Dentists aren’t just for extractions and root canals. They also perform essential work like treatment and preventive care. If you want a better smile or need dental implants, then you’ll need a good dentist.
1. Make a list
Don’t just go for the first dentist you see. Start by building a list of all the dentists in your area. The fastest way to do this is to research online, whether with a search engine or a database. You can also ask your friends or coworkers for recommendations. One nifty trick is to inquire with your primary care provider who they trust to work on their teeth.
Append your notes and other people’s opinions on each entry on your list. If there are a lot of dentists in your area, you can narrow your search down with criteria such as distance and affordability.
2. Ask for a trial consultation
Schedule an appointment with all the dentists on your shortlist. It would be a good idea to limit your list to a maximum of five offices so that you don’t waste too much time visiting a new dentist every single day. Use this opportunity to gauge the dentist’s skill, friendliness, and other qualities you might be looking for.
3. Check their credentials
You want to make sure you’re in good hands, so it might be a good idea to do some background research on your dentists. For starters, they should be board certified and registered to practice in your area. You can quickly check online whether someone is certified to practice dentistry. Some websites also keep a database of detailed information such as their education, training, and history of malpractice and other disciplinary actions.
4. Inspect their facility
Most dentists keep their own offices for basic dental work, and that’s perfectly fine for the checkups and consultations. But they need to partner with a hospital for more complicated treatment.
The condition of the office and hospital directly affects the quality of care you receive. Their office should be clean, well-lit, and organized. The partner hospital should be well-equipped and reputable.
5. Experience matters
If you can’t choose between dentist candidates, then use their experience as the deciding factor. It might not matter that much if you’re just looking for a dentist for regular checkups. But if you have a preexisting dental condition, the dentist’s experience can mean the difference between good and excellent care. The more experience a dentist has in dealing with a particular condition, the better the quality of care will be.
Not all dentists are the same, so you’ll have to find one that you think is the best fit for you. Check whether your dentist is in your insurance network. Ideally, you want someone within your plan or you might have to pay out of pocket for consultations and treatment.