Dentistry is like any other business. The field survives on everything from advertisements, to proper certification, to word of mouth. That being said, the three basic ways to choose a dentist is to ask an acquaintance, co-worker, friend or family member; ask your physician or local pharmacist; or visit ada.org to see a listing of dentists near your area, or in your state. If you are moving to another city or state, you could ask your current dentist for a recommendation.
What to Look for in a Dentist
In order to ensure that you are with a dentist who cares about his or her practice, there are some basic things that you will want to look for. The first is to ensure that they’re truly hygienic – that is, that the office is clean and sterile, and that the staff wears gloves and masks.
The second thing that you want to explore is whether the office is easy to get to from your home or your work, and whether they can accommodate your schedule.
Perhaps the third thing that you should check is whether the dentist is properly educated. That is, where they went to school, and whether he or she attends conferences and workshops to stay updated.
Last but not least, it is very important to find a dentist who participates in your current insurance plan. This is important if you are planning to receive cosmetic dentistry, as it helps to keep your bills lower than they would be otherwise. This also tends to be especially important with people who have families, as families are often on a limited budget.
If You Have Children, Be Sure to Find a Dentist They’re Comfortable With
For children, going to the dentist can be a very frightening experience. If you have children, you will likely want a dentist who already has years of experience, because he or she will probably be more familiar with the different kinds of dental needs that children can experience.
Finding a dentist who is easy to talk to is especially important, because that means it is more likely that he or she will not be put off by ignorant questions that children have been known to ask.
Also, direct eye contact is very important. Most young children don’t understand certain concepts, such as shame and self-esteem. If an adult fails to make eye contact with them, they tend to believe that it’s because they’re doing something “wrong” and/or because that adult “hates” them.
Dentists are in a position of trust with people of all ages, and this includes children. Many dentists, when operating on a patient, use interior glass doors to make the room as comfortable as possible. It is critical that children learn to trust people outside of their family from a very early age so as to help them see the world as a generally trusting place.
Rewards after the appointment, such as toys, are great. However, even though they may not be old enough to verbalize it yet, gentleness coupled with patience and honesty is what children tend to notice the most.
Sedation dentistry should be used with care. In fact, if you or anyone in your family requires sedation of some sort, one of the first things you should do when seeking out a new dentist is to familiarize yourself with the types of anesthesia that they use. Today, instead of using sedation only for surgeries, mild sedation can be used to calm a severely anxious person.
Mild sedation is used in these cases because the patient can still respond to the dentist’s questions and commands. This has been a great thing for many people with severe anxiety when at the dentist office.
It is important for you to consider you and your family’s individual needs when choosing a dentist. It is worth the time to explore your options to find the dentist that best fits your needs.