In our increasingly mobile society, moving from place to place is a common occurrence and that means finding new healthcare providers. So how to determine which healthcare provider is best for you and your family is an important question. Here are some thoughts for your consideration in terms of dental care.
Choosing the right dental team for your oral health care needs is a crucial decision because they do much more than just clean teeth. There are many links between your dental and your overall health and they can change quickly, which is one reason it is wise to have regular dental visits.
So how to choose? Consider what is important to you. Are you looking for a dentist who offers convenient hours for you, lowest price or financing options, highest “quality” (which can be subjective), emergency/same day treatment, “one-stop shopping” (all services in one place), sedation for dental anxiety, or other factors? Every office is different, but the best fit for you will have most or all of the same priorities you do. For many people, the top goal is to stay healthy, and for your dental team, their goal for you should be the same. Your dentist should ask you what’s important to you, and their recommendations should clearly follow your priorities. The right office will make it as convenient as possible for you to visit them regularly and should work hard to earn your trust and loyalty.
You may have friends who recommend one dentist over another, and that is a good place to start. Another good way is to get a recommendation from several dental specialists in the area. If the same name keeps appearing, this will probably be a quality choice. Online reviews and office websites should also be considered. They should make you feel comfortable and informed, but not overwhelmed. But also know that just because the internet says they’re the best, does not mean they are right for you.
Technology and Expertise
Dental technology advancements are happening all the time so it is important that you ask questions about how the dentist would treat your specific issue or concern. What was the best option six months ago, may not be the best option currently. The dental office that offers the benefit of the latest treatment options and state-of-the-art equipment to take care of your specific dental issues or concerns will save you time and be less invasive. Some of these advancements include laser hygiene cleanings, same-day crowns and veneers (Cerec), orthodontically aligning teeth without braces (Invisalign), same-day single and total teeth replacement, laser gum treatment without cutting or sutures (LANAP), Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) for tissue regeneration and healing, and much more.
Facility and Staff
Calling the office that “checks all the boxes” is the next important step. Did their first phone call feel as welcoming and positive as their website and recommendations? Did they ask about, and listen to, what was important to you? Was the appointment time they offered convenient and timely for you? Once you find a top choice or two, consider taking an office tour. Did the office tour match what you saw and heard on the website and phone? The office should feel “familiar,” clean and well maintained, busy (but not frantic). Look closely to determine “busyness,” a well-run practice can look almost “not very busy.” A well-designed and functioning office will seat their patients on time, and have a “calm” competent air about them. They will have patients seated in most of the treatment rooms, but not too many in the reception area. The staff will be friendly and positive. Happy staff who take the time to talk with you is a big clue to how well the practice consistently takes the best care of their patients. Their “energy” should be warm, and happy to help you. You should be able to ask any question and get a direct, honest answer that makes you feel comfortable with their knowledge and certainty.
The dentists and hygienists should be wearing loupes (surgical telescopes). The magnification lets the dentist and hygienist see much more than they could with 20/20 vision. If they use an LED headlight, that is even better. It is easier to treat what you can actually see.
Make sure you treat your smile right this year! While choosing a new dentist is an important decision, it does not have to be a difficult one. Trust your instincts. Hopefully, this has been helpful in your search for the right fit for you. Your smile will reward you when you find a dentist you can trust.