Finding the right dentist for you and your family might sound like climbing Mt. Everest. Knowing where to start with your search is half the battle, but the process of searching for a dentist that will be the right fit can seem like a daunting task. So, where do you start? There are lots of good questions to ask, and hopefully asking them will help you figure out what is most important to you in a dentist office.
Being prepared ahead of time is vital when investigating a new dental practice. Don’t be afraid to interview your dentist ahead of your first visit. You do not want to set up cleaning and exam appointment and discover halfway through that you do not like the practice or the dentist that is poking around in your mouth. Make sure you are comfortable before your first time in the dentist chair.
Questions to help you find the right dentist for your needs
- Do you have trusted friends or family members who have found a good dentist in your area?
- If you have children, are you looking for a family dentist? Does the dentist treat both adults and children?
- Are you looking for a practice that specifically offers only child-friendly dentistry? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has a good tool for finding one nearby.
- Does the dentist office accept my insurance?
- Does the dentist office offer payment options?
- How long has this dentist been in practice? How old is the dentist practice?
- What services does the dentist offer? Does their office offer dentistry referrals?
- Will the dentist treat people with disabilities or special health needs? (e.g. special needs, autism, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, etc.)
- What kinds of technology does the dental practice use?
- Is it easy to get an appointment with this dentist?
- Does the dentist take the time to talk with me and answer my questions? Or do they seem hurried and anxious to move on to the next patient?
- Does this dentist provide emergency dental hours and treatments?
- Does the office file claims for you, or do you have to file claims with your insurance on your own?
- Is the dentist near me?
- How much training has the dentist received? What certifications/credentials do they have?
The questions you ask will depend on which ones strike at what is most important to you in finding a dentist. Identifying your needs is the first step in figuring out which dentist office will be the right fit for you. When you call to find out more, don’t ignore your gut either. If the dentist’s staff is not polite or acts annoyed by your questions, move on to a different practice. They may have great reviews for their services, but if they are not willing to listen to you, that particular dental practice may not be the right fit. This is especially true when it comes to your children’s teeth.
Evaluating: Did you find the right dentist?
Once you have asked all the right questions, and are comfortable enough to schedule a dental cleaning and exam, the process does not end there. Now you have to determine if your initial impression will match up with your actual experience. After going through with that first dental appointment, ask yourself if your experience met your expectations. If these two things do not match up, continue your search. But hopefully, you have found the right dentist and can start building the relationship between them and your dental health. This relationship is essential, not only for the health of your teeth but also for your overall health.
Being a dentist in Charleston, SC, is a unique privilege for Dr. Gardner. Our practice is excited to have the opportunity to protect the gateway to your body—your mouth. While the thought of finding the right dentist for you and your family may feel like a daunting prospect, our goal is to help make that search a bit easier.