How to Find the Right Dentist, and Why It’s Important

local dentistsNot all dentists are created equally. Finding the right one will not only impact your wallet, it can also make a difference in your overall health. Here are some tips for choosing the right dentist.

Find a Dentist Who is Professional

You don’t want a dentist who is rude, unprofessional or doesn’t care about you. You want to be treated like someone your dentist knows rather than just another customer. And you need to be able to trust your dentist. Check out the various online reviews, where you can see if the dentist is involved in any malpractice lawsuits or has any complaints against him or her.

And pay attention to the office and the staff. Are all surfaces and equipment clean? Does the dentist and his staff wear gloves and protective gear during treatments? Is the dentist and his staff helpful in answering all your questions? These are all red flags if the answer is “no.”

Insurance

Some companies don’t offer dental insurance. For those who do, don’t assume your family dentist is covered under your insurance plan. A simple teeth cleaning procedure can be expensive without insurance.

Just like health insurance, your dental insurance will cover most, but not all, of the cost of most procedures. But there are exceptions, including braces. Most dental plans only cover a small portion of orthodontic care. Traditional metal braces can cost between $1,500 to $8,000 with insurance. Without insurance, those costs will skyrocket. Therefore, if your company offers dental insurance, make sure you check to see exactly what’s covered before setting an appointment.

What if I Don’t Have Insurance?

You can still see a dentist at a fraction of the cost by going to a dental school clinic, although you can’t be choosy. Check with your state dental society to find out what dental school clinics are in your area, or go to the American Dental Society’s website. A bit of caution, though: while you will still get quality care, visits typically take much longer at dental clinics, so make sure you budget in enough time.

Credentials

Where was your dentist trained, and where did he or she go to school? What types of anesthesia can your dentist administer? Does your dentist and the staff attend professional development opportunities? And what’s his or her thoughts on preventive dentistry?

Location

Choosing a dentist who’s far away makes it easier to miss appointments. And if you have a dental emergency, you don’t want to travel far to get there. Choosing a dentist who’s nearby will also serve as a subconscious reminder when your next appointment draws near. You should also decide if you want to see a dentist who is close to your home or close to your office.

And you should take the dentist’s office hours into consideration. Are they open on weekends? Who should you call if there’s an after-hours emergency? It does you no good to pick the “perfect” dentist if you can never get an appointment to see him or her.

Vital to your Overall Health

Few people actually look forward to seeing a dentist. But good oral care isn’t just important for your smile, it’s also important to your overall health. Dentists play a big role in maintaining your health, which is why finding one you’re comfortable with is so important.

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