A Choice in Oral Health

Whether you are moving to a new city or switching dental insurance coverage, there are a variety of reasons that people are faced with the task of finding a new dentist. The job can seem daunting in the beginning. However, knowing where to start and becoming aware of what to look for in a practitioner can make the transition much easier. Maintaining oral health is a critical part of total well-being. Going without any type of regular dental care should not be an option.
Begin your search by questioning friends and family in the area. Word of mouth is the best and most reliable form of advertising. If no leads surface, then speak with co-workers and neighbors. Practitioners in the medical community tend to be familiar with one another as well. It may also be wise to consult your doctor or pharmacist in order to see if they have any specific recommendations. Should all of these avenues lead nowhere, contact the National Dental Society at the state or local level. The contact information for these organizations can be found on the ADA website (www.ada.org). When leads do finally surface, it is advisable to visit several different dentists before making your final decision.
The relationship that you form with your dentist is important. There are several key things to look for when you actually visit the office and speak with the potential practitioner. Ensure that you feel comfortable. A healthy relationship with your dentist will require that you have open and honest communication. After you have established this connection, begin to think about the logistics. Be sure that their office hours will fit conveniently into your schedule. Investigate the educational background of the dentist. You must consider the standing of the university from which he or she has graduated. In addition, get a feel for the approach that the dentist takes to the practice. Ascertain whether or not the dentist takes a preventive position on dental care. A dentist that is only concerned when problems have already developed may not be a wise choice.
The dental field, like any other form of medicine, is an evolving science. Find out if this dentist attends local and regional conferences or does anything in regard to continuing education. Dental emergencies should also be a priority. Ask the dentist what the office policy is for handling emergency situation on weekends and after office hours. The billing practices of the office should also be of great concern. Ensure that the office will accept your coverage or provide some sort of payment plan for in-depth procedures. A good payment policy will provide information regarding all payments and fees before the actual work has been scheduled. You may even wish to get some baseline estimates on common procedures such as cleanings, X-rays, and cavity fillings. The final recommendation is related to pure common sense. Give the entire office a basic visual inspection. The environment should seem clean and orderly. The assistants and staff should appear friendly and well-groomed. Approaching your decision with this mental checklist in mind should allow you to make the right choice for you and your family.