Take your time choosing a dentist; don’t wait for an emergency! There are several things to consider when looking for a dentist.
Choose a dentist close to home or work. This will prevent you from saying “It’s too far, or I just don’t have time”. Therefore will make it easier to schedule visits and to arrive on time. Also, make sure that the dental office is open on the days and at the times when you are able to schedule an appointment. There are also dentists who do emergency dental work. We find that those dentists are the ones that care most for their patients.
Does the dentist accept your insurance? Does the dentist offer multiple payment options (credit cards, personal checks, payment plans)? If your insurance plan requires referrals to specialists, can this dentist provide them?
Also, be aware that costs vary by practice. If you can, get estimates of what your dentist might charge for common procedures such as fillings, crowns or root canal therapy. Even if you have dental insurance, you may be paying part of the costs yourself. Please note that, cheapest shouldn’t dictate your decision. It should be a factor, and that’s it.
One of the most important things to consider when you choose a dentist is whether you feel comfortable with that person. Are you able to explain symptoms and ask questions? Do you feel like the dentist hears and understands your concerns? Would you feel comfortable asking for pain medicine, expressing your fear or anxiety, or asking questions about a procedure?
We’ve compiled a list of dentist bio’s here. These are generated by reader’s review along with our staff experience in interviewing them.
The dentist’s office should be able to tell you about the dentist’s training. The office also should have policies on infection control. If the staff seems uncomfortable answering your questions, or you are uncomfortable with their answers, consider finding another dentist. You can also obtain information about a dentist’s qualifications from the local dental society or your insurance carrier. Most organizations of specialty dentists also list their members and qualifications.
We’ve also compiled a list of exceptional dental clinics that exceeded our expectation. Click here to view the list of dental offices.
Find out what happens if you have an emergency, either during normal office hours or at night or on a weekend. A dentist should not refer you to a hospital emergency room. You should be able to contact your dentist (or a suitable substitute) at any time by calling an answering service, cell phone or pager.
Most provincial dental boards such as British Columbia Dental Association, have a website where you can verify if your dentist is licensed. The website also should tell you whether there have been any disciplinary actions taken against him or her.