While a daily routine of brushing and flossing is important, it is equally important to find a dentist for additional oral health support. A visit to the dentist should happen at least once or twice a year, rather than only scheduling an appointment when tooth pain has become unbearable. There are preventative measures taken during…
3 Questions To Ask When Trying to Find a Dentist
When a patient is trying to find a dentist, there are specific questions that can help narrow down the search and match the patient to the right provider. You may be searching for a new dentist in the same town, or perhaps there is an urgent need to find a dentist after a move to treat a dental emergency.
Why patients should carefully screen to find a dentist
Though it may be tempting to perform a quick online search, click on the number for the first dentist that pops up in the results, and make an appointment that fits into a busy schedule, it is important to find a dentist who matches the needs of the family. Asking questions and interviewing providers to find a match is a good idea before committing to any one provider.
3 questions to ask to find the right dentist
Patients are certainly able to read online reviews, but this does not present the whole picture of what a dental practice may be able to offer. Patients can peruse practice websites, call the practice, and ask local friends and family who have similar dental situations and concerns. For example, a patient who has multiple children will be better served by a dentist who is able to accept the entire family into the practice. These questions can help narrow down the search.
1. Is the dentist accepting new patients?
Perhaps the most important question to ask when searching for a new dentist is whether the dentist can accept new patients into the practice. This is easy information to obtain: Simply call the front desk and inquire. Patients are able to ask other questions, such as whether the dentist treats children as well as adults, during this phone call.
2. Does the dentist treat children or patients with special needs?
Parents who have school-aged children or older children with special needs need to be careful when screening for a new dentist. Some dentists are amenable to treating those with medical conditions, autism, physical handicaps, and sensory sensitivities, while other dentists prefer to treat only adult patients. If a patient has a concern about whether a family member will be able to receive quality treatment at a specific practice, is important to make these inquiries before booking the first appointment.
3. Is there an available appointment when the patient needs one?
Patients who wish to make an appointment at a popular dental practice may have to wait weeks before the initial visit. If this patient has a cavity or another emergent situation, it may be advisable to consider whether this dentist will be able to meet this patient’s specific needs. Similarly, if a dental practice is a long drive away from the patient’s home, work, or school — even if it is a great practice — this distance needs to be factored into the family’s schedule.
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Finding the right dentist can take some legwork on the patient’s part, but the effort is well worth the work. A great dentist-patient relationship can last for a lifetime and can contribute to oral health maintenance and hygiene on the patient’s part.
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