How To Choose A Dentist
Choosing a new dentist may be a bigger decision than it seems at first glance. A relationship with any healthcare provider is a high-trust venture. But dentistry’s unique. Most of the time spent with a dentist involves their hands in a very personal space: Your mouth. And you ‘re allowing them to complete treatment that’s often difficult for you to evaluate from a technical perspective. You also trust they’ll tell you exactly what you see and what they recommend. So, how to choose a dentist takes a little thought.
Dentists are highly-trained, licensed professionals with a background in many of the same fields as a physician. In fact, dentists generally complete a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university before being selected for dental school. Then they spend four more years in a rigorous classroom, laboratory, and clinical curriculum. A board exam, including treating live patients, allows them to obtain their dental license. Often they complete crowns, fillings, cleanings, and other procedures with strict evaluation by examiners on every step. New graduates often continue on to a General Practice Residency, specialty training, or other advanced education programs.
What Makes the Difference?
After all this background training, you expect that all dentists are capable practitioners. By and large, that’s true. But differences in personalities, interests, and specific skills can differentiate dentists over time. Most importantly, some dentists continue to add hundreds of hours of education to their annual training. Others choose to complete the bare minimum.
At the end of the day, the goal is to find a dentist you feel comfortable visiting. If you’re new to an area or you haven’t seen a dentist in awhile, that can be challenging.
Tips For Choosing the Right Dentist For You
Here are a few thoughts to consider when you’re looking for a dentist. Often you’ll use a combination of methods to end up in the right chair.
- Ask Around. Word-of-mouth is tried-and-true. It’s hard to beat the experiences of others, and your family or friends will usually be straightforward with you about their dental experiences.
- Check Reviews. These days, online reviews work whether you’re buying a toaster or choosing a dentist. You can check Yelp, Google, Healthgrades.com, and more.
- Check Facebook Pages and Websites. If you’ve heard about a dentist, go to their social media and scroll through it. Spend a little time on their website and meet the team, watch their videos, etc. You’ll get a feel for the practice.
- Use Online Services. Services like DentalChat maintain vast networks of dentists who are interested in seeing new patients. You can chat with dentists, ask questions, and inquire about appointments in your area on a secure platform. This is a good way to find a dentist to learn more about using the other methods above.
Regardless of the way you go about choosing a dentist, it’s important you find one that fits your style, comfort, budget, and trust. Remember, if you’re not satisfied with your first dentist, you can always try another one until you find the right fit!