As a child, you had no say in who you went to for oral health care. Unfortunately, many adults don’t give the matter any consideration unless they begin having problems. That usually changes when you’re planning a family or have a child of your own and need to find a family practice you both feel comfortable with.
Choosing a dental practice requires a lot of thought since it’s a decision that could have long-term impact on how your kids view oral health throughout their lifetime. But, the question of how to find an awesome dentist isn’t difficult if you know where to look and what traits are important to you. You will want an office that’s family-friendly, conveniently located and that’s in your insurance network.
How to Find an Awesome Dentist
Many people begin their search with a list of providers from their insurance company. It’s a good starting point, but that doesn’t tell you much about what kind of practice it is. Getting recommendations from others will give you a better idea, so you can begin by asking associates at work, who are likely on the same dental plan as you, or other parents in your child’s school or play group. Once you have a list of possibilities, you can investigate further to narrow your selections down to a few that you want meet in person.
Your investigation can start on the internet by looking at the practice website. You can check the about section to get an idea of their philosophy on patient education and care, view photos of the practice and staff, and learn about their education and areas of specialty. Other things to look for on a dentist’s website are patient resources, blogs, awards and professional associations. You should have also gotten an idea of how flexible and responsive the practice is, and whether they offer same day or emergency care. Is there a dedicated pediatric dentist on staff or one doctor who will take care of the whole family? When you are looking online, also consider the fact that you might need solutions like implants, cosmetic help or even have restorative issues. An office like Midjersey Smiles has a team with various specialists to cover a wide variety of needs. Is that something that is important to you or do you mind traveling elsewhere for additional services?
The next step is to Google the dentist and the practice separately. You’re looking for independent patient reviews and other mentions of the practice like news reports. Take note of the number and nature of the reviews. Are there a lot of them, and are they mostly good or bad? Even too many average or mediocre reviews might be enough to take a pass. Also look at professional websites for information about peer reviews or censures.
Your First Visit
You should have been able to find a few good candidates after your web search. Now it’s time to meet them in person. It’s probably not a good idea to just pop up at an office with your family in tow, so contact the practices, explain that you’re looking for a family dentist and find out a good time to come and visit the office.
You’ll be able to gain some perspective about the practice while you’re waiting to talk to the dentist and staff. Look for cleanliness and comfort first off. Is there a dedicated area for kids? Are there toys, books and electronic media to keep them occupied? Does the office seem organized and well-maintained? Is the waiting room crowded or fairly empty, and do the other patients seem happy to be there and interact warmly with the staff? How long did you have to wait to talk to someone? Were you greeted right away?
Making the Final Decision
What you want and what your children want may be different. Although you will have the final say based on your impressions, it’s important to take their feelings into consideration. Fun stuff like video games in the waiting room mean little if the care isn’t gentle or the staff is impatient. Your child’s earliest experiences with dental care will affect their feelings toward dental care in the future. Their experiences should be positive and encourage them to look forward to their visits, not fear dental visits.
Don’t make a final decision or sign on with the first practice you visit. Wait until you’ve gone through your whole list of prospects. Have a family meeting about the different choices if your children are old enough to weigh in on the matter. What were your impressions of the dentist, the staff and the practice in general. Did you feel positive and comfortable? How was your rapport with the staff and care providers? Your family will be visiting the practice for many years, so choose wisely.