5 Tips to Help Choose the Right Dentist

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When you find a good doctor whom you really like and who takes good care of you, it doesn’t make sense to switch. People usually keep them on for life, or until the doctor retires. Many people are the same way about lawyers, accountants—heck, they even stick with the same hairdressers! Dentists are certainly on that list.

Once you find a professional you trust, you stick with them. With so many dental professionals out there, how do you choose the perfect one for you? What happens if you have the ideal dentist but you have to move, or they’re retiring? How do you find someone to replace them and to earn your trust all over again?

Choosing the Best Dentist for Your Needs

If your dental health is generally good, you’ll only see your dentist every nine months or so, but you would want those visits to run smoothly. It takes time to get to know your dentist; they will appreciate that you’re seeking high quality care and won’t take anything less.

Do you need a general practitioner, or are you looking for a periodontal specialist, for example? Think about what your needs are and try to narrow it down.

You won’t really know until you’re actually in the dentist’s chair whether you did indeed choose your dentist wisely. But there’s a lot you can learn before you actually visit the dental office. Here are some important things to keep in mind when choosing the best dentist for you.

1. Trust Your Friends

One of the best ways to find a good dentist is through your friends and family. Ask them whom they see, and whether their dentist is very good. Ask about their bedside manner, the technology they use, and whether their staff are friendly. Your peers can give you honest answers and let you know what to expect.

Your friends and family can also tell you whom to avoid. If they had a negative experience, they may tell you not to contact that professional. These kinds of referrals are the most honest you’ll get, because they have direct experience with that person.

While searching for a dentist, look up their credentials. According to the National Dental Examining Board of Canada’s website, a dentist must have a BDS/DDS or DMD degree, and be certified by the board.

2. Location is Key!

Before you commit to a dentist, find out more about where they’re located. Are they so far away that you’ll end up paying more for gas? What’s their parking situation? Will you have ample parking to choose from or will you have to park on the street? If a location is easily accessible, that’s one less thing to worry about.

Some people may be averse to driving downtown, so they look for places that have less heavy traffic. Others may opt to find an office very close to where they live. There are a variety of factors, so keep those in mind when looking for a new dental care provider.

3. Availability

Consider your own availability before booking anything. Do you work nine to five and need something open after hours or on weekends? Or do you work the graveyard shift and need someone during the day? You should consider what times would work best for you and shape your decision around that.

Find out when the dentist is available. If they have focused hours and limited availability, you may want to look further.

4. Handling of Dental Insurance Claims and Technology

Dental offices are becoming more and more technologically proficient. Fifteen to twenty years ago, you would have to pay your dental office up front and wait several weeks for your insurance provider to send you a cheque.

Nowadays, many dental offices are equipped to accept direct payment from the insurance companies. This is called “assignment of benefits,” and it comes in handy if it’s allowed by both your plan and the dentist. Depending on your household budget, you may prefer this arrangement.

Find out how modern the technology is at the office. You can ask what types of treatments they typically offer for filling a tooth. Many newer offices use laser technology. This factor may sway your decision, depending on what you think is best for you.

different dental instruments and tools in a dentists office

The dental office should also be capable of keeping track of your visits and how they affect your insurance. If your plan pays for routine checkups every nine months, the dental office should only schedule every nine months.

You are responsible for keeping track of your annual maximums, but the dental office should be able to help you determine that, as well.

5. Waiting List

We discussed your availability, now let’s consider the dentist’s. The best dentists are often recognized to be the best, which means that everyone wants to see them. If you find the perfect candidate with great hours who is centrally located and has a great bedside manner, chances are they’re already popular.

Give their office a call and find out if you can book an appointment within a reasonable amount of time. If that’s not possible, or if they aren’t accepting new patients, don’t be afraid to ask them to recommend someone else who delivers great service.

Make Sure it’s a Good Fit

After doing your research and finding a dentist who meets all your needs on the surface, it’s time to schedule an appointment and find out for yourself. This is the time to figure out if you want to keep this professional on for the long term. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just not the right fit.

Your new dentist has a lot to live up to. You may compare all dentists to your former one, but give them a chance. If you decide that they’re not right for you, go back to the drawing board and keep looking until you find another professional who could be the one.

An Insurance Broker Can Help

While an insurance broker can’t recommend a specific dentist, they can give you the information you need to make an informed decision. Ask your broker what your plan entails, how often you can see your dentist for regular checkups, and what your annual maximum is. With this information you can decide if the dentist you choose will meet your needs.

An insurance broker can also help make sure that you have the right insurance plan for your needs, and your family’s. Give us a call today and one of our specialists will be able to help you get on your way to a bright and healthy smile.


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