How to Choose the Dentist That is Right for You

If oral health is important to you, you need to invest time in finding a good dentist. Different dentists have different approaches, so before you walk into the nearby dental clinic that promises you thirty-two shining teeth, you need to do some homework. Don’t wait for a tooth emergency before you find a good oral health centre.

Teeth are an important part of the human body and need as much care as every other part of you. Dental abscesses and gum disease have direct consequences on your wellbeing and can cause bigger problems. You need to be proactive about looking after your teeth. Many people take oral health lightly and don’t bother to find out about good dentists in the vicinity until they need someone urgently.

What to look for in a dentist

Proximity

You may have Googled up a world class dental clinic, but if it is too far away it’s not going to work. Dental procedures could require multiple sittings, and if they are across town, there may be excessive travel time. Your insurance company may have provided you a list of dental clinics to choose from but they may not be the best options. A nearby dental school means ample availability of trained dentists, so that’s an option to look out for.

Cost

Check if the dentist accepts your insurance and if he or she offers multiple payment options. Dentist charges may vary so you may want to compare and contrast before zeroing in on one specific clinic. Compare charges for cleaning, root canals and implants across four to five clinics in your area.

Emergency options

Is there any way you can reach your dentist if you have pain after a tooth implant, extraction or root canal treatment? An emergency centre is a good resource in case of post treatment woes or if you have a sudden toothache.

Child-friendly

If you have a child, it is ideal to choose a clinic that welcomes children. They should have things like toys and books in the waiting room, a nice friendly dentist, and some sort of positive reinforcement for the kids—probably not a lollipop!

Hygiene

The clinic should have immaculate cleanliness standards. The risk of infection is high during oral treatment and a clean environment is mandatory.

Referrals

The best way to locate a dentist for you is by referrals. If you have shifted base, your previous dentist can provide you with a recommendation. Other potential sources could be your local pharmacist, doctor or friends and family. Word of mouth referrals usually lead you to the best clinics. Googling dental association websites also provide options.

Dentist qualifications and manner

Once you have found a clinic that suits your budget, you need to know if your dentist is qualified enough and if he or she is licensed. The staff at the front desk should be polite and helpful. You can check on your dentist’s credentials on medical websites or the local dental society. Be clear about whether the dental practitioner is qualified to administer the sedatives that are applied in case of oral surgery.

Even if your dentist is super-qualified, interacting with the dentist is mandatory before you can make a decision about going ahead with expensive treatment options.

A dentist should be open to your queries and not brush them aside. Clear explanations should be made about the expenses, the duration of treatment, and various options available. Don’t resort to immediate decision making unless it is an emergency. Once your dentist provides you with a couple of options, weigh the pros and cons and discuss your options before taking a call.

Your dentist should be well-versed in preventive care as well. Many oral health problems can be avoided by providing adequate information on how to maintain good oral hygiene on a regular basis.

He or she should also consider your other health issues before making a decision about treatment. If your dentist ignores your other health issues, you may have to reconsider.

You should feel comfortable interacting with your dentist. This is important as the dentist needs to understand your pain threshold and the level of stress you may feel at the time of visiting. A dentist should be compassionate and caring. If you are looking for a dentist for life and for your family, you shouldn’t compromise on getting the best treatment.

Reputation

Some dentists have a better reputation than others. A root canal or implant that goes horribly wrong can lead to infection or long-term consequences. It is extremely important to invest in a good dentist as a lot could go wrong due to negligence. Check Google reviews and ask around to see if anyone has had a bad experience.

Look for the best

Check the New Zealand specific oral health practitioner list. For example, here at NSOMS in the North Shore we have a friendly team qualified in maxillofacial dentistry. Ask around for recommendations of a dentist close to home, and then check that their facilities are clean, their dentists qualified and that you feel comfortable with them.

It’s easy to find a great dentist, but it does take time, so don’t leave it until you’re in pain or need emergency dental work.

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