Tips for choosing a dental office
Your dental health is as crucial as overall health. Every person should have a dental home where they can drop in for dental treatment or emergency. Here’s how you can find the best professional in your city.
Where to search?
You probably think the obvious answer to the question posed above is Google search. Well, this should be one of the options, but not the first.
The American Dental Association’s Find-A-Dentist tool is perhaps the most helpful one. It allows you to search for a dentist based on location, specialty, or name.
You can also use your regional health department’s directory or visit the local dental society website to find the nearest dentist.
Once you make a list of the top five, visit their website and social media pages.
The first step is to visit the dentist’s website to check the services they offer. On social media pages, check what their existing patients criticize and appreciate about the clinic.
The professional’s credentials and experience
You certainly wish to ensure the dentist has considerable experience in general dentistry. The person must have the crucial skills and relevant training. And this is where board certification comes into the picture.
You can also find details for the dentist’s medical school, certifications, training, and other initiatives on the clinic’s About-US or Our Doctors section.
Experience is crucial when it comes to orthodontics and endodontics. Dentists who have several years of experience in performing a particular procedure can offer better results.
So, if you are opting for an orthodontic procedure, check how many individuals with your specific condition the clinic treated.
It’s always better to check the dentist’s complication rates for specific procedures you intend to undergo. Find out if the clinic has faced disciplinary actions or malpractice claims in the past.
Some professionals undergo special training for treating patients suffering from dental anxiety. Such clinics are the best option for anxious patients.
Check which organizations the professional has joined
Dentists often join professional organizations for networking opportunities and, of course, to keep themselves updated.
Most professionals in the US are a part of State Dental Associations, National Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, or American Dental Association. You can find their membership details on the clinic website.
Check if the clinic offers telehealth
Telehealth does not need much of an intro. It helped doctors in providing primary care to patients during the coronavirus pandemic. A simple smartphone is used for communicating with the patient and delivering care.
Telehealth can certainly help in reducing the number of visits to the dental office. However, it cannot be a replacement for in-person office visits.
Besides minor complaints, dental care professionals also use telehealth for routine follow-ups.
Sending details for symptoms along with pictures and video clips can help dentists manage some conditions. They can also provide digital medical prescriptions.
Now, you might wonder, do insurance companies cover costs for telehealth services? The answer is yes; most of them do cover the same since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. But, it’s always better to call them and check if they do so for your policy.
Ensure dentists have a tie-up with your insurance provider
If you choose a dental clinic that participates in your plan, you will have to pay less from your pocket. You can derive the most out of your dental insurance coverage if the dentist is a participating provider. Of course, clinic quality, outcomes, experience, and dentist credentials deserve priority over insurance tie-ups.
Does the clinic offer emergency dental services?
No doubt, you won’t have much choice but to go to the nearest dentist if a tooth gets cracked. You won’t have to search and go elsewhere to complete the rest of the dental work. However, choosing a dental office that offers restorations and treats emergency cases can make life easier.
While choosing a new dentist, check the list of procedures performed at the clinic as a part of emergency services.
Save the contact details for dentists who handle emergency cases at the clinic during non-working hours.
Give priority to those within city limits
Distance is a crucial consideration because traveling longer can lead to more anxiety and stress for the patient.
No one wants to end up driving for hours to reach a dentist during an emergency. Thus, make a list of clinics within 20 to 30 minutes from your house or kids’ school.
Evaluate the clinic during your first visit
Dentists and other staff at the clinic should be easily approachable and friendly.
Staff should maintain transparency when it comes to fees, service availability, and appointments.
When the dentist recommends a procedure, they should explain the process and reasons behind recommending the same. The professional should address the patient’s concerns if any.
The waiting room should be pleasant, clean, and inviting. Lastly, an excellent oral care professional will focus on preventive care.
Besides restorative dentistry, even the charges for basic procedures vary from one clinic to the other. Higher than expected fees can leave you surprised. Thus, it’s best to ask about the prices beforehand.
A quick look at mistakes to avoid while choosing a dental clinic:
- Avoid choosing a clinic that has not implemented the latest state-of-the-art technology.
- Don’t choose a clinic with limited specialization.
- Giving too much importance to online reviews is not a good idea.
- Don’t select a professional based on the dental insurance network.
Every individual’s dental health and treatment experience may vary. Something that works for your friend may not turn out to be the best for you. Thus, entirely relying on social media reviews is not recommended.
While choosing a new dentist, keep in mind that the person should work towards you and your family’s best interest. The above tips can help you filter the best options.