It can be hard to know where to begin when you are trying to find a good dentist. You want a dentist who is a good *fit* for you, as, after all you plan to be seeing your dentist for a long time!
One of the best ways to find out if a dentist is the right one for you is to sit down and get to know him or her a little better before you make your final decision. Not many people actually think of doing this, but, once you have narrowed your choices down to one or two, ring up and make an appointment to meet in person with each dentist. Below are some questions you should consider as a part of your *checklist* to ensure you find the dentist who’s right for you.
- Is the location, right? You will need to visit the dentist and check things out, do they have parking available? Are the office staff friendly? Is the dentist punctual? What is the overall level of professionalism? Being unhappy with any one of these things can cause a person to change dentists, so it’s good to make sure you are happy with what you see.
- Does the dentist have enough time for you? This question goes back to how punctual the dentist is. If you like to schedule an appointment during your lunch time will he or she be on time, it’s important when time is of the essence. Also, you need to find out if you have to make an appointment weeks in advance, or if you can ring and book an appointment in the same week.
- Do I feel comfortable around the dentist? During the appointment with your dentist you’ll get a sense of his or her personality. Is he/she friendly? Are they putting you at ease? Do they know what they are talking about? Your first impression is often the right one, so go with your instincts. Don’t feel awkward about *wasting* his or her time, and don’t be shy about asking questions. Remember the dentist will be working for you, so let him or her *earn* your business by sitting down with you, answering your questions and addressing any concerns you may have. This will save you from being dissatisfied with your dentist down the road.
- Is the dentist interested in your *whole body* health? The right dentist is concerned not just with your teeth, but how your oral health connects to the rest of your body. Your dentist should be asking you about your health history and educating you on how your oral health impacts on the rest of your body.
- Ask your current dentist if they can recommend someone in your new area? Often your dentist will know someone they went to Uni with or they will know of an excellent dentist in the area. Ask for as many names or recommendations as you can.
- Check with your health insurance provider – ask your health insurance provider if they have a list of dentist in the area they can recommend, or, who are covered in your plan. You don’t want to see a dentist and then discover you can’t receive a refund.
- Ask your family, friends, co-workers and neighbours for a recommendation – ask around, different people in your network of friends and family may be able to recommend a good dentist to you. Try and find one who isn’t just good at fillings, but who can provide you with an all-round service.
- Google – is your friend – Rather than simply checking in the Yellow Pages, Google dentists in the area and read any customer reviews or feedback. Look for reviews that are personal and relate to a service or procedure. Reviews on how nice the waiting room is, or that they have this year’s magazines won’t tell you if the dentist is good, bad or otherwise.
- Ask if you can *interview* the staff and dentist – it is the reaction you receive from this question that will be the most *telling*..
Now that you have had your first visit with the dentist ask yourself……
- Was everything explained to me properly?
- Did I feel comfortable?
- Were the dentist and his/her staff professional yet friendly?
While you may not *realise it* choosing a dentist does and will have a BIG impact on your health – positive or negative. It’s a very important decision, that goes way beyond your first visit. Remember to take your time, go with your instincts and choose wisely.