Whether it's across town or cross-country, moving means staying on top of big and little tasks. In the flurry of packing, renting moving trucks, changing addresses and all of the other checklist items that come with moving, don't forget that one of the most important moving tips isn't how you pack your china, but when and how you choose a new dentist. Switching health care professionals should never be done lightly or without the proper research, so if your move requires a new dentist too, make sure you take the time to choose one you'll love. Try these tips for a perfect fit post-move.
1. Look for ADA-Certified
The American Dental Association requires its certified dentists to abide by certain codes of both ethics and professional conduct when dealing with patients. As such, its database is a great place to start when searching for a trustworthy, skilled dentist in your new area. You can find ADA-certified dentists across the country by using the ADA Find a Dentist tool.
2. Ask for Recommendations
One of the most reliable ways to find out more about dentists in your new area, is to ask around. If you already know some people in your new neighborhood – coworkers or community acquaintances, for example – ask which dentist they visit. If you don't know anyone in your new location, go online and reach out to others on social media. A city social media group or parenting group can be a wealth of knowledge for someone who's new in town, and you can rest assured you're choosing a dentist with a proven track record.
3. Schedule a Consultation
Before you commit to becoming a new patient, schedule a consultation. During a consultation, a dentist and his or her staff will show you around the office, explain common procedures, talk to you about dental insurance, and answer any questions you might have about policies and protocols. This initial consult goes a long way in quelling any concerns you might have about switching dentists, as well as giving you a feel for whether or not a particular dentist is the right fit for you and your family. Schedule consults with two or three dentists and you can choose the one who you feel is best.
4. Consider Your Family Members
Consider your family members, like their ages and special needs, to narrow your search. If you have little ones, think about finding a family practice that can handle pediatric dentistry. If your teen (or you!) may need braces soon, check out an office that specializes in orthodontics as well.
5. Transfer Your Records
Call your old dentist and make sure that your dental records from that office are transferred to your new dentist. Your new dentist will need to know about your past dental health, including checkup records, surgeries and any medications you may be taking. Transferring your records can help make the switch to a new office seamless.
Schedule a necessary appointment with your new dentist so you can verify that you've made the right choice. A routine cleaning is a great place to start: You can see how the staff performs and talk to your new dentist as a patient. Some things you might want to consider evaluating include:
- The cleanliness of the office.
- The chair-side manner of the dentist and the staff.
- Level of comfort.
- Your conversations with the dentist. Does the dentist and staff listen to your concerns and value you as a patient?
- The level of advice you're given. Does your dentist or dental hygienist suggest a healthy oral hygiene routine, like brushing twice daily with a toothpaste, such as Colgate Total® Advanced Deep Clean?
Choosing a dentist shouldn't be done lightly because you're choosing a partner for your health – potentially for years to come. So, while you're boxing up your priceless heirlooms and making sure you've cleaned out your old home, don't forget that one of the most valuable moving tips is to take some time to find, research and evaluate a new dentist. Doing so can make your new location feel a little more like home.