Five Tips for Finding the Right Dentist

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Although it may not seem like it, dental practices are everywhere — even in towns that don’t boast a huge population. If you live in a big city and you don’t already have a dentist you trust, it can be overwhelming figuring out the best dentist for you in your community. The following tips can help you make the right choice, even with so many options — ahem — in your face.

1.Know Your Insurance Benefits. Your insurance provider’s website might offer a list of dental providers in your network, but first you have to find out what type of insurance you have. Dental HMOs limit your choice of dentist to an HMO network member; a PPO plan might have different copayment levels, depending on whether a given dentist is in or out of the network. If you don’t have insurance, ask about the practice’s in-house care plan, as these plans can save you money on cleanings and other procedures.

2.Know What Work You Need. Are you looking for cosmetic dental work or family dental work? Do you need a dentist who specializes in putting children at ease? Do you need someone to remove your wisdom teeth, like an oral surgeon? Even if you have an idea of what you need, if you haven’t had x-rays in a few years, it’s a good idea to start your search with a general dentist.

3.Know What to Ask. Take time to consider what’s most important to you in a dentist. Is their clinical experience and continued training key? Do you want the latest in office amenities such as neck pillows to make your treatment more comfortable? Are you looking for a practice that offers sedation dentistry to calm your dental fears? What about the latest technology such as digital x-rays to reduce radiation? Have a list of questions ready about issues that are important to you when you call to schedule your checkup.

4.Evaluate Convenience. Convenience can mean any number of things to you, such as location, office hours, available emergency care, evening and weekend availability, or fees and payment plans. Consider what convenience means to you before calling a prospective dentist.

5.Evaluate Compatibility. Consider how compatible your family and this prospective dentist are: does the practice seem like it is a good fit? Once you’ve done your due diligence in checking out the practice online and have gotten a positive impression, take the time to visit the practice and meet the dentist. Don’t be afraid to simply trust your instincts.