You can never underestimate how closely your oral health is related to your overall health, which is why all of us should really put some effort into finding the right dentist for ourselves and our families. Remember that your dentist does much more than provide professional cleanings and exams. A good dentist offers a variety of services – from restorative to cosmetic to orthodontics to emergency care. Here are some tips to help you find the right dentist for you:
- Consider convenience. You’ll want a dentist with an office that is easy to access from your home and/or workplace. Your new dentist should have office hours that suit your schedule, and the office should accept whatever dental insurance you have. Also – and this is very important – make sure that the dentist is a member of the American Dental Association.
- Ask friends and family. When it comes to finding the right dentist, don’t discount the opinions of people you know and trust. They may not be able to tell you whether or not the dentist provides top-notch services, but they can share some insight about the quality of the office staff and their own comfort level with the dentist and the practice overall.
- Check with your local dental society and/or the American Dental Association. Your local dental society can give you a list of dentists around your area. And the ADA’s Find-a-Dentist online tool is a great way to locate dentists close to where you live and work.
- Make a list and visit their websites. Any good dental site will include a full list of services that each dentist provides. While most offer basic services – such as cleanings, exams, fillings and crowns, for example – not every dentist will provide specialized care such as orthodontic services, root canals, and sleep disorder treatments, to name just a few. Consider what types of services you anticipate needing, then locate dentists that provide those services and add them to your list of likely candidates.
- Check online references. Once you’ve compiled a list of dentists that might be right for you, check their online references. It’s a good idea not to base your final decision on what strangers have to say about each dentist, but if you notice some similarity in the comments – whether they tend to be positive or negative – they can be helpful in narrowing down your search.
- Schedule a consultation. When your list is whittled down to 3 or 4 dentists, take the time to schedule a consultation visit with each one. Any good dentist would be happy to meet with you briefly to help you determine whether or not he or she and their practice would be a good fit for you. Tell the dentist a little about you and your family, as well as your dental history and what services you anticipate needing over the next few years.
Putting a little extra effort into finding the right dentist for you and your family is well worth the effort. After all, your dentist plays a crucial role in ensuring that you and your loved ones enjoy good oral health for many years to come!