When you’ve just moved town, or are new to a neighbourhood, there seems to be an endless list of things to do. Between settling the kids at a new school, organising utilities and changing addresses on all your accounts, it’s easy to forget about some of the most important tasks – like finding a new dentist, before an emergency forces you to.
The idea of choosing a new dentist can be a little daunting, yet it is extremely important. Good oral health is vital for the health of your entire body, and finding a dentist you have faith in and who you can feel comfortable with, is a must.
So how do you do it? That’s simple – you research it. And you ask questions of your neighbours, your search engine, and, most importantly, potential dentists. Check with the receptionist, when you make an appointment, whether the dentist will be able to answer your questions then, or if you will need to arrange to do so at a separate appointment.
10 questions to ask your dentist
When deciding on a dentist, remember this could be a long-term relationship. You will be entrusting a great deal of your, and your children’s, current and future oral health to him or her. The areas to cover in questioning a potential dentist include the following:
- The dentist’s qualifications and further studies that indicate the dental practice is up to date with developments in dentistry. Look at what areas of dentistry are considered to be the dentist’s specialties.
- How busy the dentist and the practice are. Discuss appointment scheduling as well as the availability of emergency treatment. It’s important to know you can get help when you need it, not weeks or months down the line.
- Discuss how the dentist’s practice works. Will you always deal with the same dentist, or is there a rotation system? Also determine what arrangements are made if the dentist is away or sick. Are there partners who will take over?
- If relevant, find out how experienced the dentist is with children, and whether there is a hygienist in the practice who specializes in treating them.
- Discuss payment terms and plans, and whether or not your medical insurance is accepted by the practice.
- Ask your dentist’s opinion on the state of your oral health to get an idea of what sort of treatments will be necessary in the future.
- If there are several treatments in store for you, clarify what they will involve, and find out about recovery time, and any side-effects. Get an idea of how many dental visits will be involved, and how much each treatment is likely to cost you.
- Determine what check-up schedule the dentist recommends, and what is involved in these check-ups.
- Look for advice on how you can improve your oral health and hygiene routine. Remember oral health comes from teamwork between you and your dentist.
- Discuss the dentist’s attitude to X-Rays and how often they are used, particularly if you are concerned about the X-Ray process.
Choosing a dentist is starting a long-term relationship. If it’s a good relationship, it can only benefit your oral health, and your general state of well-being.