Although there is no right or wrong way to choose a dentist, you want to make sure that you find a dentist that you can trust will take care of you and your family. Among all the many considerations you will have to sort through during your decision making process, make sure that the dentist that you extremely choose to visit is educated, certified, and licensed to practice dentistry. Such credentials should either be displayed in your dentist's office or such information should be available upon request.
Below is a list of a few other considerations to keep in mind as you choose your dentist:
o Participator in your insurance plan – Many times dental work can become quite expensive. You will want to make sure that whomever you choose for your dentistry needs is a participating provider. Paying the extra 10-30% by seeing a dentist outside of your participation provider pool can add up quickly.
o Technology – dentists' offices can be very diverse in the manner of treatment that they provide. As it is with any profession technology is always changing. You may feel more comfortable seeing a dentist that practices using tried and true methods only and avoids experimenting with new procedures. On the other hand, an innovative dentist with new and up-to-date equipment may be what you are looking for.
o Special needs – Just as in other forms of medicine, dentists come in all different shapes, sizes and specialties. For example, make sure that if you are looking for a dentist for your child that you see a Pediatric dentist.
o Location – convenience is a precious commodity. If you are given a choice between several dentists that you like, consider their office locations. Although every 6 months a longer trip for a check-up may not be too inconvenient, consider all of the extra trips that you may need to take to get fillings, crowns, or if there is an emergency.
o Experience – You take a gamble when you choose to visit a dentist with no track record. It is usually best to visit a dentist who has had at least 5 years of practice experience. Not only will the dentist be more comfortable and knowledgeable, but the office will generally be more organized as well.
o Personality – There is nothing worse than being stuck under the bright lights and moving tools of a dentist that you can not stand. I had a dentist once who would rest his left arm on my forehead while he worked on my teeth with his right hand. Dreading going to the dentist is hard enough; you should not have to have the added stress of meeting with someone you dislike as well.
o Cost – Some dentists are going to be more costly than others. Fancy offices with plasma TV's, comfortable furniture and free dental supplies are typically going to charge you for it. Know what your real costs are going to be after your insurance pays their part.
o Patient load – There is nothing worse than having a toothache, sensitivity, or other reason to see the dentist as soon as possible and not be able to because the patient load is so huge. Make sure that you can find an office that can accommodate emergency situations.
o Office staff and environment – An intelligent and efficient office staff can save you a lot of grief when dealing with the dentist.
o Recommendations – it never hurts to ask friends, family and neighbors about their dentists. You can usually get a pretty good idea about what local dentists come more highly recommended than others. Learn from other's experiences.