Find a Good Dentist by Asking the Right Questions

When you need to find a good dentist it's hard to know where to begin. Dental networks can give you a list of dentists to choose from, but a name and contact number can't tell you if that dentist will be a good fit for you. Ideally you will want a dentist you can see for a long time.

The best way to know if a dentist will be a good fit for you is to sit down and get to know him a little better before making your final decision. Not many people think about doing this, but once you've narrowed down your list to one or two choices, you should schedule an appointment to meet with each dentist in person. The following are some questions you should consider as part of your checklist to ensure you find a good dentist match for you.

Is the location of the office convenient for me?

To answer this question you will need to first visit the office site and check out things like parking availability, the office staff, and their level of professionalism, and see whether the dentist is punctual and stays on schedule with his appointments. Being unhappy with any one of these things can cause a person to change dentists, so it's good to make sure you are comfortable with what you see.

Will he/she have enough time for me?

This question goes back to how well the dentist keeps to his schedule. This will be important if you like to schedule an appointment during your lunch break and time is of the essence. Also, you should find out if you need to make an appointment weeks in advance or if he will have availability during the same week you call.

Do I feel comfortable around him?

During your interview you can see how the dentist interacts with you and get a sense of his personality. Is he friendly and good at putting you at ease? Does he sound like he knows what he is talking about? Your first impression is often the right one, so trust your gut. Bring a notepad or checklist with you so can make notes to compare and perhaps talk over with a friend.

Don't feel awkward or shy about asking your questions, and don't worry about wasting his time. Remember that the dentist is working for you, so let him earn your business by sitting down with you and addressing any concerns you may have. Although this does need some extra effort on your part, it will save you from being dissatisfied with your dentist later down the road.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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What To Expect During a DENTAL VISIT

On your first visit, your dentist will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist.

  • A Thorough Cleaning – a dental hygienist or dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.

  • A Full Dental Examination – your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.

  • X-Rays – X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth.