Choosing a new dentist can be an overwhelming task and not one that many people look forward to doing. It is a lot easier to find a dentist who is trustworthy, competent, and personable when you have the right tools and information on the search. From asking the right questions to spotting the characteristics of…
3 Ways to Find a Dentist
Dental health is a critical component of overall health, so patients need to find a dentist to coordinate regular preventative care and be the go-to person for dental procedures or emergencies. There are multiple options for people who need to find a new dentist.
How to find a dentist
The process of finding a dentist generally begins with searching for dental offices in the geographic region the patient is interested in. After making a list of potential candidates, the patient can move on to evaluating how well each dentist fits the patient's criteria. These three methods can help patients narrow down their choices and find a dentist to meet their needs.
1. Online search
Gone are the days when the only way to find a local dentist was to look through the phone book. There are numerous options for finding information on dentists on the internet. Typing "dentist near me" in a search engine can provide patients with a list of dentists near the patient's location. In addition to the address, website, hours of operation, and phone number of the nearby dentists, many dental office sites have reviews from patients that can be useful in making a selection.
2. Local organizations
A local dental society can help patients find a dentist by providing a list of dentists' names in the local area. Local health departments, dental associations, or dental schools can also be a good source of information, particularly for people in search of low-cost dental care. State Medicaid or CHIP agencies can provide information for dentists who provide free or low-cost dental care through the Children's Health Insurance program.
3. Word of mouth
Friends, family, and co-workers can be good sources of information about local dentists. The benefit of asking a trusted friend or family member is that the patient can get a firsthand account of what that person liked and did not like about a particular dentist. When asking about dentists, the patient should find out about what are the available preventative care and dental emergency options, how difficult it is to get an appointment, and how helpful and knowledgeable the staff is.
How to choose a dentist
Once the patient has a list of potential dentists to choose from, it is time to call the dentist's office or visit in person. During this conversation, the patient should ask the dentist what preventative services are offered, whether emergency hours are available, which insurance and payment options are accepted and whether financing options are offered. Patients who have specific concerns about their dental care or that of their families should bring them up now to see how they may be addressed.
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There are a variety of options open to patients who need to find a dentist. Internet searches, local dental associations, health departments, and word of mouth can all be useful tools. The final determination should be made by scheduling a phone or in-person consultation to assess how well various dental offices meet the patient's needs.
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