When looking for a dentist, the ADA or American Dental Association advises the following recommendations:
- Ask a local pharmacist or family doctor
- Ask colleagues, neighbors, friends or loved ones for recommendations
- If moving to a new place, ask the current dentist to make a recommendation
- Get in touch with the state or local dental society. The American Dental Association actually offers a list of state as well as local dental societies on its website known as the www.ada.org. The state or local dental societies may also be registered in the directory under “associations” or “dentists”.
- Please be guided that it is essential to phone or visit more than one dentist prior choosing one.
What should a patient search for when selecting a dentist?
The patient and the dentist will be long-term dental care partners so this means that the patient must look for a dentist who is reliable and comfortable to deal with. In order to locate the appropriate dentist who meets the needs of the patient, it is wise to consider asking beginning point questions such as:
- Is the dental clinic easy to get to from home or office?
- What are the office hours and if these are convenient to the patient’s schedule.
- Where did the dentist finish his or her dentistry course and where did he have his or her training?
- How frequent does the dentist attend seminars, continuing education workshops and conferences?
- What is the dentist’s approach to preventive dentistry?
- What kind of anesthesia is the dentist authorized to carry out to help the patient feel more comfortable and at ease during any required dental procedure and treatment?
- What is the dentist’s clinic policy on missed appointments?
- Does the dentist participate in what are so-called dental health plans?
- Is information provided in terms of payment plans and fees prior treatment is settled or scheduled? Does the dentist offer quote or estimate for the common dental procedures he or she administers?
- What arrangements are settled for managing emergencies outside dental clinic hours? If the dentist is not capable of tending to emergencies, emergency referral services are usually offered.
- Is the dental staff more than glad to help and respond to patient’s questions and concerns?
- Does the dental clinic look uncluttered, clean and orderly? Do all equipment and surfaces in the dental treatment room look tidy and sterilized?
- How child-friendly is the dental office?
- Does the patient observe the dental staff and the dentist wearing various protective gear and gloves at the time of dental procedure and treatment?
- Does the dentist handle patient’s private dental and medical history with care?
Overall, it is helpful to evaluate the dentist after a dental appointment. Consider if he or she is trustworthy enough and if his or her referral and recommendations are credible.
Carefully contemplate on the dental hours and the dental clinic’s location if these are convenient and all right with you. Do you feel comfortable discussing dental issues with him or her? Keep in mind that it is imperative to have a good relationship with the dentist to ensure that every dental appointment is worthwhile.