Are you new to the area? Unhappy with your current dentist? If you’re looking for a new dentist, make sure you are prepared to pick the right dentist for you and your family. Although dental insurance coverage is usually the primary filter used to find your new dentist, there are several other considerations you should make.
What Availability Do You Have for Regular Visits? After Hours or Emergency Care?
It’s important that your dentist’s office hours are compatible with your schedule. You don’t want to run into basic scheduling issues on a regular basis. Also, you should keep in mind that dental emergencies are uncommon but do happen. You’ll want to know how to contact your dentist if you need care after hours. Many offices have an after-hours answering service, or they may offer up the dentist’s cell phone number to be used for emergencies only.
What Types of Technology Does your Office Use?
Even if you don’t care about “cutting edge technology” you should be aware that dated technology can lead to a poor diagnosis. One area this is especially relevant is in X-ray technology. Newer, digital X-rays expose you to less radiation and are more comfortable in your mouth. Additionally, they offer your new dentist a much clearer picture of what’s happening inside your teeth and gums. This is really important so that your new dentist can offer the best treatment. New technology can also offer up more convenient care, such as same-day crowns, or laser drilling which doesn’t require numbing.
What Preventative Care Do You Recommend?
The best dentists would rather help you keep as much and as many of your natural teeth as possible. They will have solid recommendations for helping you prevent decay and gum disease. This might be a specific toothpaste, toothbrush, or floss. They may also recommend a fluoride coating or a specific brushing technique. Regardless of what they recommend, you want to know that they have a plan for helping keep your teeth healthy, not just a plan for fixing up decayed or broken teeth.
Do You Participate in Regular Continuing Education?
Experts in oral research are making advancements every day. Just like your medical practitioner, it’s important for your dentist to keep up with new research and methods. There are regular conferences and seminars for learning new dental techniques. Additionally, dentists should have access to medical research through journals and articles. Some of these continuing education methods offer certificates, while others are more a matter of faithfulness. Most states have laws that require dentists to keep up with new research. You can check out what your state’s laws are here.
Can You Make Accommodations for Individual’s Needs?
No two mouths are the same. But likewise, the people themselves have needs too. Some people struggle with anxiety. Others may not respond to typical numbing medications. Some people can’t handle needles or have difficulty sitting for long periods of time. Children need explanations and instructions they can understand. Some patients have medical conditions that will affect their dental care such as diabetes or HIV. It’s important to know that your dentist is willing and able to hear your needs as a patient and plan accordingly.
What Do Other Patients Have to Say About Your Office?
It’s important to hear what other patients think of your new dentist. Although they may look great on paper, patients can give you the real scoop. What are their bedside manners like? Did they listen well? Do they accommodate special needs? Did their work last? The office may have written recommendations from other patients or might be able to direct you to a website where patients have given feedback.
What is Your Philosophy of Care?
This one may seem confusing at first, but it is actually the most important question of all. As much as we would like to believe that treatment plans are straightforward, you need to remember that really, all medical advice is an opinion. Generally, dentists will agree on the best route forward, but you usually have more than one option. Some dentists decide the best treatment plan by choosing care that is most affordable for the patient, even if it’s not the best route for their mouth in the long run. Another way of determining the best treatment plan is deciding what is best for someone’s overall oral health, and choosing that option, regardless of the cost. Obviously, you need a dentist whose philosophy of care aligns with your priorities and your budget.
Hopefully, these questions help you see how many aspects there are to this decision. If you’re looking for a new dentist in Colorado Springs we hope you consider West One Family Dental! We are committed to providing the best care to every patient. All our dentists stay on top of continuing education and our office offers up-to-date technology for better diagnosis and treatment.