Practice location and hours of operation
With the high price of gas and the value of your time, location becomes a priority. If possible, focus on dentists who are within practical proximity to either your home or where you work. Also, be sure to look into their business hours to determine if they might coincide with your personal schedule.
A smaller, “mom and pop” type of operation will more likely keep “banker’s hours” and be closed for lunch, while the larger practices tend to extend their hours of operation into Saturdays, lunch hours and sometimes even into the early evenings on certain weekdays. Dental care is pricey so if you can schedule your visits during your off hours at least you won’t be drawing a smaller paycheck that week as well.
Schedule an initial consultation
Look at it this way – you’re hiring a dentist to work for you which could result in paying them hundreds if not thousands of dollars for dental care over the next several years. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to just 2 or 3, go ahead and schedule consultations (or job interviews) with them. This will be time well spent prior to developing such a close, “face-to-face” relationship with one of them.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), we should have regular dental checkups at least twice a year with a strong emphasis on preventative care. You can save a lot of pain, headache and money by simply focusing on good oral care and hygiene and keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Therefore, it’s imperative that your dentist follows the same philosophy.
Your initial visit is also the perfect time to check out the facilities and staff. You can meet the hygienist(s) and dental assistant(s) and see that they meet your expectations. Feel free to ask any questions including how long they’ve been in business, where the dentist(s) may have attended school, if they also offer cosmetic services and if they are members of the ADA – a leading advocate for oral health care in America.
Dental cost and coverage
It may be a good idea to pick up a price list during your visit. (They should be able to easily print one out from their computer.) This may not be too much of a concern if you have good health coverage, but it’s still helpful information to have and may be interesting to compare with the other contenders. And speaking of health coverage, find out what kind of insurance they accept and, if applicable, if yours is on the list. Also, what is their procedure for filing claims? Do they do this on your behalf or would you have to pay up front and file your own insurance claim for reimbursement?
In addition to insurance, ask if they accept any kind of dental discount programs. Half of Americans are without dental insurance, mainly due to the higher cost, but more and more are signing up for discount plans to help cope with the costs of dental care (some even have both since insurance coverage has become so limited over the last 20-30 years).
Two more helpful considerations
A good way to locate a great dentist is by personal referrals. Since most people have a regular dentist, simply ask around. Try your friends, relatives, neighbors, church friends and other places you frequent. If new to town, you can always ask good old Google – you can learn just about anything nowadays via an online search.
Finally, you may wish to ask about the practice’s emergency procedures. Hopefully, you’ll never need them but you never know what could happen after hours such as a broken tooth or severe oral pain over a weekend or in the middle of the night. Do they have dentists on staff that take emergency calls? Do they share on-call rotations with another practice? This is good information to have on hand, just in case.
Visiting the dentist is not the most desirable activity for most folks, but it’s still a very important one. Our oral and overall health depend on it. So choose a dentist who you and your family will feel comfortable with – and keep that beautiful smile healthy.…
Practice location and hours of operation
The dreaded bi-annual trip to the family dentist is something that nearly every person shoves into the back of their mind. A seemingly irrational fear of the dentist is experienced by almost everybody at some point in life. Choosing the right practitioner can make a world of difference and can reduce the mild panic by a significant amount.
When you are trying to find a family dentist, the best place to start is to find out how experienced the dentist in question is. Ask how long the dental practice has been open and inquire about the dentist’s credentials. Any professional worth his or her salt will be happy to provide you with the information you need.
A family dentist that pays specific attention to the procedures you are interested in is always a good choice. You might be interested in finding a dental practice that houses an oral hygienist as well as an orthodontist. You could also be on the lookout for a fantastic cosmetic dentist. Never settle for a dentist who does not cover all the bases unless you are confident in his or her referrals.
Nothing is worse than finding yourself in the middle of a dental emergency without being able to go to the dentist you have come to know and trust. A dentist’s emergency hours and procedures are worth finding out about. You never quite know when a chipped tooth or broken filling will strike and wreak havoc on your mouth. It is a great comfort to know that you have a family dentist you can rely on whenever you need the support.
A good dentist always knows how to make patients feel at ease. Therefore, it may be a good idea to inquire about local anasthesia, nitrous oxide and other bonuses such as background music, hovering television screens or heating pads. The more at home you feel, the less anxious you will be when you make an appointment.
Cost is another important factor that requires a certain amount of consideration. Unfortunately, dental treatments are not cheap and it may be beneficial to find out how steep the costs involved are. Most medical insurance companies cover the practical fees, however, you may find that you encounter a dental practitioner who requires consultation fees up front.
If you do the research, and know what you are looking for, finding the right dental practice is well worth the time spent.…