Going to the dentist is already an experience that many people are prone to procrastinating over, and choosing the wrong office when you do visit will only lead to more hesitation when checkup time comes around.
The right dentist, on the other hand, will make your dental care easy and hassle-free, which is why selecting a good provider to begin with is important. Chances are, if you’re looking for a new provider, you aren’t sure where to begin – the pick-and-point yellow pages method is definitely not the path to success. Here are 5 criteria that will help narrow down your choices to excellent dentists:
1.) Make sure they take your insurance if you have dental coverage. While this may seem like a no-brainer, some new clients get caught up in checking other facets of a practice and run into trouble when the time comes to settle up. If you’re considering a dentist, pick up the phone and inquire about your insurance provider – if the office can’t give you a firm answer, move on to the next name on your list.
2.) Check out the office itself. Decor is a good indicator of what to expect once you hit the exam room: too high-end and it will end up as an extra bump on your bill. Too low-end and it may point to an ailing practice that doesn’t have the skills to acquire and maintain clients. With themed dentist offices, such as the 10 spotlighted by Grace Murano of Odee, you’ll likely get good service, but at a premium. In general, if the chairs are from this decade, the plants are healthy and the magazines fairly current, this is a good sign that points to a successful client base and fair billing.
3.) Scope out the fashion at the front desk. A dentist with a good handle on his or her staff will realize that the reception staff is the public face of their practice. Front desk staff should be clean cut and reasonably well dressed, either in business casual or dental scrubs. Behind the exam door, look for matching Landau scrubs on the team – this kind of uniform approach to work clothes points to a solid working relationship that usually translates to excellent dental care.
4.) How involved is their paperwork? If you’re presented with a much-photocopied form that looks like it’s been kicking around since the 1970s, that shows lack of attention. Your new office should want to know about you – questions about birthdays and anniversaries are excellent signs that indicate they have a strong relationship with their clients.
5.) Do they care about you? If your questions are met with exasperated sighs and eye-rolling, especially in the exam room, it’s time to find a different office. A dentist is a medical provider, just like a doctor, and your concerns about your dental health should be their biggest priority during an exam. Kim Schneider of the American Dental Association blog also notes that inappropriate conversation is a complete no-no while in the chair. If your dentist makes you emotionally uncomfortable, don’t be shy about cutting the visit short.
With the right dental office in your medical roster, your new dentist and their staff will look like angels in scrubs the next time you have a toothache.