Ideally, when you choose a dentist, you’ll be looking for a long-term relationship.
As an essential healthcare practitioner, you need a dentist that you can trust, and who knows your oral health history, as well as your preferences and concerns.
Whether you are looking for a family dentist, or one who prefers to work with a particular age group; a general practitioner, cosmetic dentist, or a specialist, there are many factors to consider.
Are you ready to choose a new oral healthcare professional?
Here are our tips on how to decide which dentist is right for you:
Ask for recommendations
Ask your friends or your family physician for suggestions. If someone you trust has a dentist they love, chances are, you’ll be comfortable going to that practice, too. If you are unsure where to start, the BC Dental Association has listings of dental professionals in every community. Make a shortlist of potential dentists to investigate further before you select one.
Sometimes, just getting to the office can be difficult. Do you have a work schedule that makes it difficult to visit the dentist during the day? Do you live on other side of town? Find a dentist with a location and office hours that work for you, so that making an appointment doesn’t have to be a hassle.
Is the Office Welcoming?
The feeling you get when you’re in the office is important. Does the receptionist greet you with a smile? Is the waiting room comfortable? Are the exam rooms designed to help you relax?
Dental visits can be stressful! If the atmosphere is a comfortable one, it can go a long way to helping you have a positive experience.
When you’re looking for a new dentist, make a point to visit the office spaces of the ones you’re considering. If you feel uncomfortable right away, it’s probably not a good fit.
Does the Dentist Use Modern Techniques?
The field of dentistry is constantly improving, and the best professionals keep on top of the latest innovations and technologies.
In today’s tech-driven industry, new machines and practices are designed to be less-invasive, more effective, and, ultimately, provide the best support for the patient’s long-term oral health. Does your potential dentist keep up to date? Does the office have the best equipment? Is he or she familiar with the newest procedures, like 3D digital scanning? Make sure to ask these questions!
Bonus Dental Services
General Dentistry doesn’t always include everything you might want from your dentist. Some dentists also provide specialized services that you might not have considered. Invisalign teeth straightening systems, Botox treatments, tooth whitening, and other cosmetic procedures require extra training, which only some dentists choose to pursue. Consider these extended options when choosing your new oral healthcare professional.
The Dentist’s Approach
Children and adults, alike, can feel intimidated by a visit to the dentist. Many professionals are well-equipped to support patients who may be anxious or exceptionally uncomfortable in the dentist’s chair. Ask about your dentist’s policies for using sedation, anesthesia, for handling emergency situations, and for otherwise putting the patient at ease (it could be something as simple as turning on a television to keep you distracted!). If you are looking for a family practice, make sure to ask how the dentist approaches these situations with both children and adults.
Do You Have Specific Needs?
Some patients have ongoing special requirements. Do you need an office that is equipped for accessibility? A practitioner who is bilingual? One trained in sensory issues? Do you have serious health concerns? Organizations designed to aid persons with specific needs often maintain lists of dentists who are prepared to handle those conditions.
Assessment is a Two Way Street
Most dentists will want to start with an introductory exam, to get to know you, discuss your questions and concerns, and to establish an oral health baseline that will make it easier to monitor any changes going forward.
Use this visit to familiarize yourself with the dentist’s practices and procedures, as well as his or her personality. Do you feel comfortable in this dentist’s care? Does he or she ask thorough questions, and explain things in a way that you can understand? Is the dental hygienist gentle and friendly?
Remember that during cleanings and regular check-ups, most of your time is spent with other office staff, so it’s very important to make sure that you’re comfortable with everyone involved in your care.
You will know right away if you’re in the right place!