Most people only think about going to the dentist when they experience pain, a tooth breaks in the middle of a meal, or have another type of dental emergency.
An unexpected accident or injury usually happens in the most inconvenient times. Many people book the earliest appointment with a dentist they have never met or know anything about.
Finding the right dentist is like finding that special person you trust to care for you. This person looks after your mouth, teeth and gums, and someone you will regularly see over many years. This person is someone that you will like, and once you've found them, you'll stick with them.
So, how do you find a dentist that's right for you? Here are some tips!
Ask a Friend
Ask your friend and family who their dentists are and why they chose them. A referral from someone you know may be the best option because it is usually based on first-hand experience.
Your referrer may have a good understanding of your personality and will most likely be able to let you know if they think their dentist would be a good fit for you. If you are moving, ask your existing dentist if there's anyone they'd recommend.
Research Your Options
Another way to find a dentist is to do your research on the internet. You can look on google or ask a Facebook community group. Check out the dental practice online presence and see if their personality matches yours.
Current or previous patients may have left google or Facebook reviews. Reading these reviews may give you an impression of what the dentist and the practice are like.
Speak with the Practice's Team
The next step is to call the practice. It's important to have a list of questions you want to ask and evaluate how the receptionist attends to your questions.
You may even want to ask yourself:
- Was everyone on their team welcoming and attentive?
- Are the dentists and staff knowledgeable and helpful?
- Is the dental practice flexible and accommodating?
- Do they provide services that match your needs and schedule?
- Did you feel happy at the end of your conversation?
If you ended the call with the right vibe and they ticked all your boxes, then you may consider taking a leap of faith and book an appointment. It is scary and exciting at the same time—kind of like going on a first date!
Assess the Practice's Atmosphere
When you arrive at your appointment, you can assess the environment and the team. It is essential to look beyond the signage and decor.
For example, perhaps check in with how you feel. Do you feel welcomed and well cared for? Is the team friendly and approachable, and do they seem happy?
A happy and empathic team is probably passionate about caring for their patients and will ultimately provide the highest service quality.
Once you've seen the dentist, you will generally have a good idea whether you could have a good relationship with them. A few things to consider:
- Did you feel comfortable and supported by your dentist?
- Did they take their time to listen and understand your needs?
- Did they communicate in a way that you understand your situation and options?
- Did they engage and support you in decision making?
- Did they support and respect your decision?
- Do you feel that you can trust them?
If you firmly think 'yes' to all of the above considerations, then chances are you have found your perfect match!
Finding the right dentist for you and your family is a long-term proposition. Seeing the same dentist provides you with continuity of care that leads to better dental health and, ultimately, whole-body health.