Good dental health often hinges on the quality of care you get from a dentist. In fact, finding a good dentist can mean the difference between making routine check-ups and keeping up with appointments, and avoiding dental visits altogether. Here are four tips for hiring a dentist that hopefully will make your search more worthwhile.
1. Get Referrals
A good starting point is to ask for recommendations from family members or friends. Enlisting their input, especially if they’ve dealt with a particular dentist, can help you find a reputable dentist based on firsthand experience. Similarly, your primary care physician or nurse can point you in the right direction because such professionals know the best physicians in your area.
2. Research Prospective Dentists
Ask if a prospective dentist is a member of a professional association. Such an association requires its members to adhere to high standards of conduct. Similarly, a dentist’s licensure and certification are indications that he or she has the requisite education, accreditation, and authorization to offer services in a given area. Furthermore, for a dentist to maintain certification, he or she is required to engage in continuing education.
Find out how long the dentist has been in practice to gauge his or her experience. Likewise, check out the general upkeep of the dentist’s office. A poorly organized office is a red flag because it may indicate a lack of professionalism. The staff members should also be courteous and efficient. Expect high quality in the system that the dentist operates. Otherwise, a low-quality system should not be worth your time and money.
3. Check Compatibility
Are you compatible with the dentist you select? Well, more people are putting greater emphasis on finding physicians whose personalities are a good match. As such, the focus on the relationship between the patient and doctor is increasingly important. Familiarize yourself with the dentist you intend to hire by scheduling an initial visit – this should serve as a litmus test.
Gauge how the dentist listens to you and tends to your concerns. If he appears to deflect questions or interrupts you while you speak or seems more concerned about whether you can afford treatment, you should consider finding a different dentist.
4. Evaluate Alternative Options
While the cost of dental work is an important consideration to make, put greater emphasis on the quality of care instead. High-quality dentistry is time-intensive and involves meticulous attention to detail. In the same vein, be wary of dentists who offer elaborate treatment plans because these may end up pushing dental costs beyond your budget. Instead, get a second opinion when a dentist recommends extensive dental work. After all, a good dentist should be open to scrutiny by others.
Ideally, the idea is not to find the best dentist per se – it seems like there are far too many definitions of a great dentist. Instead, hire an experienced dentist who is in good standing. Above all, the physician should be someone you can confide in and feel comfortable around. By following these tips for hiring a dentist, you will be well on your way to finding a reliable and reputable professional.