A dentist does far more than make sure your teeth are clean. They are a true partner in your family’s health team. A family dentist helps to prevent problems, can identify cancers, and work on your overall health by ensuring your oral cavities are clean. Finding a good dentist, therefore, shouldn’t be just an afterthought. So how do you find someone trustworthy of such an important role?
How to Assess a Family Dentist
- How much training and experience do they have?
Your dentist should have attended an accredited dental school and completed the relevant examinations. Find out what their credentials are and confirm these with the issuing bodies. Dentists must also complete continuous education credits every year to keep their knowledge up to date, so do ask about this. You should also ask how the dentist is trained specifically to meet your family’s needs, such as being able to handle young children, working with braces, and so on. If anyone in your family is a nervous patient, then you may want to look for someone who offers sedation dentistry or other forms of relaxation. The dental office should be more than happy to answer questions about this.
- Is it a nice office?
You should start by telephoning the office to get a feel of how professional everybody there is. The receptionist should be more than happy to answer all of your questions about the dentist and the office itself. You should also go for an actual visit, however. Find out how clean the reception area is, whether you feel comfortable there, whether you are welcomed by the staff, and so on. You may even be able to take advantage of a free initial consultation. If the dental office does offer this, you should take advantage of it, as it will give you a chance to see the treatment rooms and the available equipment, while getting to know the actual dentist as well. Do also consider the actual location of the office, making sure it is easy enough for you to reach.
- How will your family’s needs be met.
Last but not least, you need to make sure that all of your family’s needs can be met. For instance, you may need:
- A pediatric dentist for babies and toddlers.
- An orthodontist for teenagers.
- A general dentist for yourself and your spouse.
- Disability access for your older relative who you care for.
Do also remember that opening hours is a need. You must be able to make appointments with your dentist at a time that is convenient to you.
Finding a great family dentist doesn’t have to be overly time consuming, but you also shouldn’t rush it. Make sure that you consider all the different options out there and that you don’t settle for anyone who you do not feel 100% comfortable with. It is better to go without a dentist while finding the perfect one, than being tied to one you aren’t happy with.