Written By Lewis Robinson / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are an important aspect of overall wellness. If you have been procrastinating about finding a dentist, or just moved to a new area, here are some tips to help you find a dental office that is a good fit for you.
Check on Insurance Plan Participation
Dental visits for preventative care and procedures can be expensive without insurance coverage, so an important consideration when choosing a dentist is whether the provider participates in your plan. There are two ways to approach the issue.
You can gather a list of dentists in your area that are covered under your plan and evaluate from there, or you can identify your top choice and then confirm that they accept your insurance. Out-of-pocket costs can vary significantly between an in-network and out-of-network dentist, so be sure you know what to expect before you commit.
Focus on Compatibility
You must find a dentist that aligns with your values and expectations. This may seem broad, but mostly it involves making sure you are comfortable with the practice and that it delivers what you want. For instance, if you want your entire family to go to the same dentist, make sure the dentist does not specialize in pediatric or geriatric patients. Consider whether you prefer a male or female.
If commitment to sustainability is important for you, a dentist who has installed solar panels and runs an environmentally-friendly practice would be a good fit. If a dentist uses video or email technology to diagnose, treat and follow-up with patients, make sure this is compatible with your expectations. It is critical to find a dentist you can easily communicate with and who listens to your needs and preferences.
Get Referrals From People You Trust
Recommendations from family, friends or co-workers can be a great resource to narrow your options of dentists to consider. Find out what they like about their dentist, what procedures they have had done and whether they have any negative impressions that make them hesitant in their recommendation.
A referral from your doctor or other healthcare providers is also a good option. Even though you receive referrals, you should still conduct research to ensure that the dentist is a good fit for your needs.
Once you have identified potential candidates, go online and read reviews to see what current and former patients have to say about them. Look at healthcare review sites like Healthgrades, Vitals, ZocDoc or CareDash in addition to Google and Facebook.
Reading reviews will provide insight into how well the practice is run, as well as satisfaction with the dentist’s abilities. There will undoubtedly be some negative reviews. If it is just one or two, and the rest are all positive, it is certainly nothing to worry about. A recurring complaint in multiple reviews is a red flag you should not ignore.
Few people look forward to a dental visit, so you want it to be as easy and painless as possible. Look for a dental office that is close to your home or work. This allows you the flexibility to schedule appointments on your way to work, during your lunch break or on your way home.
Another factor to consider is office hours that are convenient for you. Check that the office hours correspond to the days and times you prefer to schedule appointments. If taking time from work is difficult, look for a practice that sees patients on Saturdays or offers later evening hours at least once per week.
Dental certification and licensure requirements differ by state, but all practicing dentists must have a current license. While board certification is not required, it is a reliable way to ensure that dentists have the necessary education and experience.
Most dentists belong to the American Dental Association. ADA membership provides assurance that a dentist received their degree from an accredited university, among other things. You can also ask if they have malpractice insurance and whether they have basic CPR or other emergency training. Do your research, ask questions and find the dental practice that best fits with your needs.
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Lewis Robinson is a freelance writer and expert in health and fitness. When he isn’t writing he can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.