When looking for a new dentist you want someone who provides exceptional patient care and is near you.
Going to the dentist is not fun for most people, so when you do have to go, you want to make sure you find a qualified and experienced dentist who puts your care first. But where do you start? How do I find a good dentist near me?
Below are some tips for finding the best and most qualified dentist near you.
Ask For a Referral
The best way to find a good dentist near you is to ask around. Ask anyone you trust! Your family and friends may live near you and go to a good local dentist. Maybe your coworker recently needed a root canal and loved how gentle her dentist was- ask her who she went to.
You can also ask your primary care physician, or any other doctor if they know a good dentist in the area. Maybe they have a friend who is a dentist or have heard of someone who is exceptional.
Check With the ADA
If you don’t know who to ask, don’t worry! The American Dental Association (ADA) is also a good start. The ADA is the world’s largest dental association. Going to the dentist is scary and stressful for most people, so you want a dentist you can trust. ADA dentists have access to the latest and most up-to-date information about dental health and how to keep you safe.
To do this, ADA dentists follow a code of ethics. Dentists that are members of the ADA hold themselves to a higher standard. They do this by making several promises regarding their patient care.
- They vow to always respect your wishes. You should always be informed and feel a part of your treatment. You should know what the dentist is doing and why they chose to do it. The dentist should provide you with options for your treatment as well, so you can choose the one that you feel most happy with. You should never feel pressured to undergo a procedure you don’t feel ready for.
- ADA dentists vow to do no harm. The patient is the priority! The dentist’s job is to keep you safe and healthy. They do this by staying up-to-date with the latest dental advancements, technologies, and safe care techniques. They complete hours of continuing education classes to stay educated.
- They vow to do good. Every patient is an individual, with individual needs, desires, and health requirements. ADA dentists promise to provide you with the best and latest treatment options and make you part of the decision process about what will happen as part of your treatment.
- They promise to be fair. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you believe in- you will be treated fairly and equally by an ADA dentist.
- ADA dentists will be truthful. Trust is based on honesty and openness. Your dentist will be honest and open about your treatment plan and the risks and benefits involved.
Check Their Credentials
Before visiting just any dentist office near you, you want to make sure they are qualified to treat you- even if you are just going in for a routine cleaning. A dentist without the right credentials can do more harm than good during a cleaning if they do not have the right qualifications and continuing education.
A dentist usually completes medical school and then a post-doctorate residency program where they get hands-on experience in the field of dentistry.
Dentists who want to take their education and dedication to patient care a step further become board certified. A board-certified dentist has passed a written test, an oral test, and obtained the required amount of training. Board-certified dentists must complete 125 hours of continuing education credits every 5 years.
Board-certification provides dentists with the expertise needed to provide the top care for their patients. It proves their dedication to their profession and to you- the patient.
Look at the Reviews
Something that might be helpful when looking for a dentist hygienist near you is to read their Google, Healthgrades, and Vitals reviews. A well-established dentist who has been practicing for many years should have many reviews.
Read the reviews carefully instead of simply looking at the star rating. Read the reviews that talk about the dentist’s communication with patients about their treatment plan, how well they answered patients’ questions, if they spend enough time with the patient, and the patients’ overall reaction to their time with the dentist.
Some reviewers may give the dentist a 5-star rating raving about how nice the receptionist was and about the beautiful waiting area. Although these are important aspects of your overall experience, this tells you nothing about the dentist himself and the level of care you can expect to receive in this dental clinic.
Convenience is Key
The dentist’s office can be a scary and overwhelming place for many of us. According to a study, most patients missed appointments because they lived too far from the clinic. Missing appointments disrupts patient care. This will only hurt you and your teeth.
Try searching “dentist near me”. Do this search when you are at home, and also when you are at work. You might be able to go to your appointment after work or during your lunch hour. Another tip is to look for a dentist along your everyday commute to make your dental visits more convenient.
Choose a few dental clinics and read their reviews.
Schedule a Consultation
After you compiled a list of 2-5 dentists, schedule a consultation. When you meet with the dentist ask him questions that are important to you or your care. Some important questions to ask during a consultation with a dentist include:
- How many patients with my condition have you treated?
- What are the risks associated with this procedure?
- What type of anesthesia do you use?
- What can I do at home to keep my teeth healthy?
This is your time to interview your dentist. Ask him all the questions that concern you. Just remember you may have to pay for your consultation as a regular office visit.