TIPS FOR FINDING A DENTIST THAT MEETS YOUR FAMILY’S NEEDS
Have you ever Googled a phrase that ended with “near me”? Coffee near me. Restaurants near me. Fun things to do near me. Time is precious and life is busy. It makes sense that you want to find services that can fit seamlessly into your busy schedule and daily routine.
The process of finding the best dentist near you is not unlike finding where to go to grab a latte. But, while you may be able to let it slide if the closest coffee shop gives you a cortado instead of a grande, knowing which nearby dentist you can rely on from the beginning has a greater impact than a coffee drink. From your very first visit, the right dentist can directly and positively influence the immediate and long-term oral health of your family.
So as you get ready to Google “best dentist near me,” here are some useful tips on how to decide which nearby dentist is the best fit for your schedule, expectations, and needs.
1. SCOPE OF SERVICES
What makes one family dentist different from the next? Though all family dentists are equally trained in general dentistry, the scope of services offered by an individual dentist can vary from practice to practice. Consider the preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dental care you and your family need and use the following questions to help determine if a dental practice’s offerings match what you’re seeking.
GENERAL PREVENTATIVE CARE
You can set the bar high when it comes to your expectations of general preventative care. General preventative services are the foundation of every family dental practice and the main reason each of us visits the dentist twice a year.
General preventative dental care aims to prevent and detect common dental issues, such as cavities and gum disease, in addition to advising you on the restorative and cosmetic procedures that will maintain, restore, or enhance your smile’s health, appearance, and function. As you’re researching which dentist is right for you and your family, consider your unique expectations and needs and ask yourself the following questions:
- Cavity prevention: Does this dentist offer solutions for helping to prevent cavities, like professional fluoride treatment and sealants?
- Deep cleanings: Does this dentist offer deeper cleanings, such as scaling and root planing, to eliminate excess plaque and manage periodontal disease?
- Bruxism relief: Does this dentist offer custom solutions to help relieve the effects of bruxism and protect my teeth from grinding or clenching?
COMPREHENSIVE RESTORATIVE CARE
Restorative care allows you to simultaneously reclaim your smile’s health, appearance, and function. Consider your current dental situation and oral health needs as you ask yourself the following questions:
- Tooth repair: Does this dentist offer comprehensive options to repair teeth that are cracked, broken, and decayed, such as composite resin, dental bonding, and root canal therapy?
- Tooth removal: Does this dentist specialize in extracting teeth due to disease, trauma, or overcrowding?
- Tooth replacement: Does this dentist offer comprehensive options for replacing missing teeth, such as bridges, dentures, partials, and implants?
Your teeth do more than chew your food and help you speak. Your teeth make your smile full, radiant, and completely unique. Feeling less than confident about your smile’s health and appearance can directly influence your social interactions and self-esteem.
Because the appearance of our smile directly impacts our sense of confidence and wellbeing, many family dentists offer custom treatments to help their patients correct cosmetic imperfections and enhance the beauty and brightness of their smile. Consider improvements you’d like to make to the appearance of your teeth and ask yourself the following:
- Whitening: Does this dentist offer options for lightening stains and restoring teeth to their natural color and radiance?
- Smile Makeovers: Does this dentist offer options to make over your smile’s overall appearance, such as Invisalign and porcelain veneers?
Herein lies the reason you Google “near me.” You’ll be more likely to visit your dentist if their appointment times fit your schedule, and if their office is conveniently located near your home, school, or office. Consider what you and your family need to make getting to the dentist easy and ask yourself the following:
- Appointment times: Does this dentist offer appointment times that fit into my and my family’s schedule, such as lunchtime and early mornings?
- Location: Is this dental practice conveniently located near my home, school, or workplace?
3. INSURANCE AND FINANCING
Knowing how your dental office can help you afford your care can eliminate financial anxiety and help you prepare for treatment with clarity. As you search for a new dentist and prepare for your first visit, always ask yourself the following questions:
- Insurance: Will this dentist work with my insurance?
- Self-pay options: Does this dentist accept different payment options or offer financing options, such as CareCredit?
4. REVIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Did you know that humans are naturally more likely to remember something negative than positive? So when patients take the time to write a positive review or recommend a good practice, you can generally trust that they had a great experience. When reviewing a practice’s online reviews, or getting recommendations from your colleagues and friends, consider the following:
- Patterns: What is consistently said about this dentist, their services, and their practice?
- Overall score: Do positive reviews and recommendations outweigh the negative?
Finding a dentist that offers what you want and need is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and your family. Know what’s important to you, ask questions, and always expect only the best from your dental experience.