Of all adults surveyed in the United States, 83% of them say that their highest health-related priority at the moment is their oral health. They rated this higher than mental health, exercise, and even diet.
If your oral health is a big priority for you too, then finding the best dentist for your needs is going to be a high priority as well. And while there are lots of great dentists out there, not all dental clinics are created equal, and not every one will be ideal for your needs. How do you find a great dentist? And more importantly, how do you know when you’ve found the best dentist for you? This article will attempt to answer that question.
Choosing the Best Dentist for You: Factors to Consider
Here, we’ll share a few things you should consider when you check out the best dentists in your area. Keep the following questions in mind and you’re sure to find a dentist you and your family will love.
Is the Dentist in Your Insurance Network?
If you live in the United States, your dental insurance might be a big factor in choosing a dentist. This is especially the case for preventive dental care, which can start to feel costly after a year or two of regular appointments. It’s unlikely that all the dentists in your area will be in your dental insurance network, so this may be the first thing you consider before looking at other factors.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that dental insurance networks aren’t all-defining. For one thing, some people don’t use dental insurance at all, preferring instead to pay for dental care out of pocket — something which is surprisingly achievable, even for normal budgets. Besides that, just because a dentist you like isn’t in your network doesn’t mean you can’t go to them for treatments. Dental prices aren’t standardized like medical care prices are, so you actually have some flexibility when it comes to paying for out-of-network dental work with insurance.
If you’ve fallen in love with a dental clinic that isn’t in your insurance plan’s network, you still have options. First of all, you should show your insurance plan to the dental clinic you’ve chosen, and find out if they will accept it even though they’re not in your network. Your insurance company might not pay as much to an out-of-network dentist, or you may be charged a higher copay when you get treatments. But usually, a dentist and insurance company will accommodate you, even if it’s at a slightly increased cost.
Just make sure you make these arrangements before you schedule your appointment, and not after you arrive. You’ll want to know what you have to pay before you get there, not afterward.
If the dentist you want is outside your insurance network, you may be able to find a dental practice with similar ideals that is covered by your insurance. If you have to shop around or settle for your second choice, it’s a good idea to define what’s most important to you in a dentist. Don’t feel pressured to compromise on something that’s non-negotiable to you.
What Type of Dental Work Do You Need?
As you might expect, the type of dental work you’re looking for will go a long way in deciding which is the best dentist for you. Whether you have a specific unique treatment in mind or you just need general care, finding a good dentist is closely tied to what you consider your most significant dental needs.
Are you looking mainly for routine checkups and cleanings? Look around for a clinic where you’re comfortable with the dentist and staff. The environment should be friendly and welcoming, but also professional.
Do you want cosmetic work or other aesthetic dental treatments? To find a good cosmetic dentist, you will want to look for a clinic with lots of reviews, as well as before and after pictures backing up their qualifications. When you’re looking for the perfect dentist to upgrade your smile, you can’t be too careful.
Are you looking for a dentist to handle your child’s dental care? Pediatric dentists receive the same rigorous training that other dentists receive, but the difference is in their clinics: pediatric dental offices are specifically tailored to care for children and make them feel at ease. Once again, you should select a clinic where you feel comfortable with the dentist and staff, but it’s even more important that your child reacts well to the office. Make sure you bring your child along when you visit the office and consider their first impression along with your own. As an alternative to a dedicated pediatric dentist, you might find a local family dentist who can handle all of your dental care needs.
Do you have a history of experiencing frequent cavities or other major dental problems? If you require more elaborate and extensive oral treatments, you might want to find a regular dentist who shares their practice with a specialist to perform route canals and other major procedures. Alternatively, the dentist you choose may have a referral program with local specialists in other forms of oral healthcare.
If you’re currently in pain and need to see a dentist right away, obviously the best dentist for you is the one that has an open appointment in the next couple of days.
Comfort Smiles Dentistry in New Orleans offers best-in-class cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, and advanced oral procedures like tooth extraction and gum disease treatment. If you’re in need of cosmetic or reconstructive dentistry or advanced oral care, be sure and add us to your list of clinics to consider.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
As with every other industry, there are several red flags you should be on the lookout for when you’re comparing different dentists. Here are a few of the most significant ones to consider.
Rude or Impatient Staff
A great dentist will always make sure they hire staff members who reflect well on their practice. It’s not uncommon for people to experience mild fear or anxiety around going to the dentist’s office, and having a friendly, caring staff on board can make all the difference to a patient’s experience.
A Messy Office
The state of the dental office will make its impression the moment you walk in, even before you meet the dentist or talk to the staff. While an unkempt office may seem insignificant as long as the staff is friendly and the dentist seems competent, it can still reflect poorly on their attention to detail. Dentists know that the condition of their office says a lot about their standards as professionals.
When you visit a dental clinic for the first time, pause and take a look around. In a good dental office, surfaces should be clean and shiny, free of smudges or dust. The bathroom in particular should be immaculate. Even if the carpets and furniture are noticeably old, they should still be tidy and clean.
A Negative Reaction From Your Child
As we mentioned earlier, you should bring your child with you if you’re looking for a family or pediatric dentist. Watch for how your children respond to the dental staff, and then ask what they thought of their experience on the way home. This isn’t just because your child’s opinion is worth considering. This is because, the more comfortable your child is in the dentist office you choose, the more likely they are to practice good dental care when they enter adulthood.
Defensiveness Coming From the Dentist
A confident dentist will never have an issue with a patient seeking a second opinion from a different dentist, or asking for things like copies of their dental records. If you feel that your dentist responds negatively whenever you ask questions, or that they question you about why you would want any other dentist’s opinion, this is a red flag.
There are many things to consider when you’re searching for the best dentist for you and your family, but these tips should be more than enough to get you started. Remember this advice and you should have no trouble finding a dentist that works for your needs.