What Should I Look For When Choosing a Dentist?
You and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners; therefore, you should find someone you can be comfortable with. To find a suitable dentist to meet your needs, consider asking the following questions as a starting point:
- What are the office hours? Are they convenient for your schedule?
- Is the office easy to get to from work or home?
- Where was the dentist educated and trained?
- What’s the dentist’s approach to preventive dentistry?
- How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
- What type of anesthesia is the dentist certified to administer to help you relax and feel more comfortable during any necessary dental treatment?
- What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
- Is information provided about all fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled? If you are comparison shopping, ask for estimates on some common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, an oral exam and cleaning, and filling a cavity.
- Does the dentist participate in your dental health plan?
- What is the dentist’s office policy on missed appointments?
If visiting a dentist’s office:
- Does the office appear to be clean, neat, and orderly? Do all surfaces and equipment in the treatment room appear clean?
- Is the dental staff helpful and willing to answer your questions?
- Do you observe the dentist and staff wearing gloves and other protective gear during actual patient treatment?