Choosing a new doctor is a daunting task. Choosing a dentist is just as scary, if not more so. More people fear going for a dentist’s visit than they do a check-up at the doctor. With the task alone making so many people feel quite nervous, how do you know where to start when choosing a dentist?
Typically, choosing a dentist for adulthood means choosing someone to help you with your dental health for many years to come. The stakes are even higher when you need a dentist for your family. You will want to be certain you choose someone whom everyone is comfortable with, someone dependable, educated, who uses the best technology and equipment available, and someone with a good reputation.
Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? In reality, most of these characteristics play into each other. Someone dependable will typically have a good reputation. Someone educated will know to use the best advancements in dental hygiene to stay on top of new developments. When you find someone who satisfies one of these, the rest of the pieces will fall into place.
How to Find a Good, Established Dentist
There are plenty of resources out there to help you find a reliable and affordable dentist. With technology at our fingertips, we can use search engines, dental expert websites, accredited institutions, and so much more. We can also easily reach out to friends and neighbours to ask for recommendations.
You can also ask your physician if they have any recommendations. Although your general physician might not have close ties with dentists, it is still worth finding out the opinion of another medical professional.
You can also find tips and licensed professionals via your country’s dental association, such as with the Canadian Dental Association.
Things to Look For
Now that you know some resources to use to find a new dentist, it is time to consider the characteristics you hope to find in an established family dentist office. All of these aspects are important in determining the type of dentist you want and how reliable a dentist’s office might be.
1. Up-to-Date Equipment
Just like with any health-related field, dentistry research and equipment is constantly improving. As researchers and experts learn more about how to properly care for people’s bodies (including the teeth and mouth), tech companies make massive improvements to their equipment so they can stay up to standards.
One such improvement to look for in your chosen dentist’s office is the implementation of digital x-ray technology. X-rays are massively important in dentistry, as they are in most medical facilities. However, as we all know, consistent radiation from traditional x-ray equipment can significantly increase the risk of major health problems like cancer. The latest and most advanced step in this technology, digital x-rays, can decrease this risk by up to 90% and still provide crisp, clear images for dentists to use.
X-rays are obviously not the only equipment that has improved over the years, but it is a major indicator of where the office might be in terms of its equipment. Be sure to check with them about their use of digital x-rays, and you should have an idea of exactly how “up to date” they are with equipment.
2. Clean and Modern
If their technology is up to date, then it is typically safe to assume that their office should be as well. Everything should look and feel clean upon entering.
Many people feel unsettled by the smell and “feel” of a hospital, but the stark sensation is typically a result of a highly clean area. This is what you want from a place that is constantly working on mouths. If the front office feels clean, then chances are the back – where the work actually happens – is clean as well.
3. Friendly and Reputable Staff
If a friend or someone you know recommended the family dentist to you, it should be assumed that they have a good office staff. No one wants to go to a health professional where they feel unwelcome, even if the dentist themselves are amazing.
If you feel welcomed and relaxed when you enter, it sets a good, pleasant tone for your entire visit. Since many patients feel incredibly nervous prior to procedures, it is a huge relief to be in a place that feels warm and friendly.
If you use the national association in your country to find your dentist, then they should be accredited by that organisation. Having this professional affiliation ensures that they abide by a specific dentistry code. You can easily search databases to find out what sort of education and accreditation your potential family dentist has.
If you have dental insurance, you must be certain that you find a location that accepts it. If you are uninsured, you should discuss with the front desk or the dentist beforehand about costs, potential payment plans, and the like.
Determining affordability will likely be a big part of your decision, as budgeting is a major part of anyone’s life. You should also discuss costs and procedures in the case of any emergencies, and perhaps if there are any family discounts or rewards, which some dentists do offer to long-time patients.
Only You Know Who Is Right
For many people, dentist visits invite some level of anxiety or discomfort. Finding a dentist that uses the least invasive equipment, can make you feel comfortable, and has the proper ongoing education is no easy task. However, with this list, you can feel a bit better about beginning the journey to finding a proper family dentist. You should have the resources now.
Like with doctors, you hope to find a dentist whom you and your family will visit for many years to come. Establish from the outset what you are looking for and let that inform your search. There is a family dentist out there who will make you feel welcome.