Your teeth are incredibly important, and your oral hygiene shouldn’t be taken lightly. Issues with oral hygiene can not only lead to tooth loss and tooth decay, but it can also impact the quality of your life and lead to recurrent issues such as gum disease and gingivitis. To ensure you and your family are staying healthy, it’s best to get the help of a trained family dentist to provide you and your family with the best dental care possible! Below are some tips you can use to find the perfect family dental that cares.
1. Read Reviews
One of the best resources you can use to find a family dentist for your loved ones is online reviews. You can find reviews through major websites such as Google, Facebook, and even Yelp. These reviews can help you see what other clients think about their dentist, whether or not this dentist has been able to help their clients through specific issues such as cosmetic work, and a myriad of other information. Most of these review websites also have a section where you can ask a question about the dentist or clinic, and a customer service representative or another reviewer will be able to view your question and provide an answer.
2. Shop for Prices
If you know you have to pay for certain dental or medical expenses out of pocket, it’s best to shop around for family dentists and view their prices. Do some of them offer a family bundle deal for you and your children? Are there any specials for first-time patients? Many new patients can have a special deal including a free exam and free imaging tests. If you need follow-up dental work, you should see which clinic offers the lowest price or which can work with you on a payment plan.
3. Ask About Insurance
Similarly, you might not need to pay out of pocket but will need to use your insurance to pay for dental care. Ask your dentist if they accept your insurance plan, and if they do, will your insurance plan be able to cover all their treatment costs? It’s best to reach out to your insurance provider first for a list of local dentists that accept your insurance. This is especially true if you’re using government or state-funded insurance, such as Medicaid or Medicare.
4. Look for a Local Dental Clinic
It’s best to look for a local dentist so your children can be comfortable visiting their office. Visiting a local dentist allows you to integrate your children’s dental care more easily than a strange, far-off dentist in another city. Opting for a local dentist can also save you on mileage if you have to take your children for continued dental care. Local dentists are also great when you have to travel after your child has had a procedure that involved anesthesia or surgery.
5. Ask About Orthodontics
Orthodontists and dentists are a bit different, so it’s important to understand what services you will need before you start searching for a ‘ dentist near me.’ If you need treatment for your child including treating malocclusions (also known as an underbite or overbite), misaligned teeth, crowded teeth, and jaw or facial deformities, these would all be treated by an orthodontist. General dentistry, on the other hand, deals with issues concerning the teeth, gums, and nerves, but not so much issues with the jaw or malocclusions. Both dentists and orthodontists, however, play a vital role in helping you and your family have optimum dental health!
6. Look for Great Customer Service
You always have the option of calling a dentist ahead of time and scheduling an appointment or reaching out to them on their website. If you feel the customer service is not to your liking when you call the office or try to reach out to this dentist, it’s best to stay away from their clinic altogether. Always look for a dental clinic that is inviting and has a customer service support team dedicated to hearing your concerns and relaying your questions to the dental provider.
7. Ask Your Children Their Opinion
Your children’s opinion is perhaps the most important when it comes to determining whether or not your family dentist is the right fit for your family. Family dentists all have different personalities, which means not all of them might be good with children. Although your dentist might provide stellar dental work and services, if your children feel uncomfortable or simply don’t like their dentist, it might be time to listen to their opinion and find a dentist that can make your child feel comfortable and cared for.
8. Ask About Cosmetic Services
Cosmetic dentists can prove to be a life-saver if your child is struggling with cosmetic dental issues. From yellowing, chipped, or cracked teeth, to crowded and misaligned teeth, or gaps in their teeth, these can all make your child feel a bit shy about their smile. Ask around for cosmetic dentists that specialize in fixing the appearance of your child’s smile. This can help give them a little confidence boost, as well as help them improve their self-esteem.
9. Opt for a Knowledgeable Dentist
If you find yourself constantly asking questions to your dentist that they don’t have an answer for, this could be a sign your dentist isn’t maintaining their knowledge of participating in seminars to maintain their knowledge of dentistry. You always want to choose a dentist that is able to answer your questions, even if they’re as simple as ‘why do my teeth feel cold?’ or ‘is it possible for my child’s teeth to straighten without treatment?’ If you feel your dentist is generally unable to answer your questions or get back to you with an answer, it might be time to shop around for another one.
10. Make Sure your Concerns are Heard
Similarly, if you have concerns with you or your child’s dental care, choose a dentist that is willing to listen to you and your family. For instance, do you feel any recent dental procedures have possibly been infected? Do you feel your dentist is too rough with you or your child and meetings are always painful? If your dentist refuses to listen to your concerns or brushes them off, it’s best to find a new one. You don’t want to make your children feel as if every experience at the dentist will be a bad one.
11. Choose a Dentist you Can Easily Reach
It’s important to have a family dentist you can reach after-hours in case of an emergency, or at the very least that you can reach during business hours. If you find yourself constantly getting put on hold over the phone, or if you’ve been consistently unable to reach your dentist for something as simple as a follow-up care question, you should start looking for another dentist that can easily be reached through e-mail, via cell-phone, or through their office assistants. Your dentist should ideally have a turn-around time of 8-16 business hours to answer your questions.
12. Look for a Clean Environment
If you walk into a family dental clinic and notice a dirty bathroom, dirty floors, or a filthy environment, it’s best to look somewhere else. Chances are, if they aren’t maintaining their clinic, they might not be practicing the best sterilization techniques! Even if your dentist is being compliant with sterilization and sanitation, no one wants to spend hours at a dirty dental clinic!
13. Look For a Family-Friendly Office
Besides looking for a clean office, you should also opt for a family dentist that has an office that is kid-friendly! Some dentists might have an area dedicated to children complete with video games, puzzles, and toys. Not only can this be a great way for you, as a parent, to relax before your dental appointment, but it can also get rid of the anxiety of going to the dentist for your child. This can allow them to look forward to going to the dentist, and even think of this as fun! This is, of course, one of the best ways to teach your children early on about the importance of dental hygiene and dental care.
14. Choose a Qualified Dentist
Your dentist should have their certificates and any licenses displayed proudly in their office. If you can’t find this information, you can also look up your local dentist’s credentials by visiting your state’s website. If you can’t find your dentist and notice their business practices are somewhat questionable, such as insisting on cash payments, start looking for a dentist with an active license that is easily searched. You can also ask about your dentist’s education and research how competitive their dental graduate program is.
15. Ask Your Family or Friends for Advice
Your friends or family might already have a dentist that they visit regularly and absolutely love! If you have friends and family nearby, they are also another great resource to help you choose your family dentist. Unlike reviews, your friends and family can be very honest about their opinions, and they can also provide you with information about services. Reviews are still a good option, however, keep in mind that some reviews might be from friends of the dental practice, or might even be bought. If you trust your family and friends, listen to their opinion.
16. Choose an Office that Uses Up-to-Date Technology
If you walk into an office that still uses outdated technology, such as old computers, clunky x-ray machines, and old-fashioned dental chairs, this might be a sign your clinic isn’t staying up-to-date on the latest technology. It might be best to find a dentist that is using technology that is far better for your family and less painful, although these services can be pricey. For instance, laser teeth cleaning is now able to get rid of stains and yellowing on the teeth without having to painfully wear down the surface of your teeth. This technology can be a life-saver and help your kids look forward to going to the dentist too!
17. Choose a Dentist you Personally Like
You will have to interact with your family dentist on a yearly basis, if not more, so it’s important you choose one you can personally get along with and feel they are answering all your questions and concerns. How easy is it to strike up a conversation? Do you feel comfortable with your children in their care? These are all important questions to ask yourself when choosing a dentist.
18. Visit a Friendly Office
Like all medical clinics, it’s important for your children’s office to be warm and inviting, and for the staff to work well together. If you notice the staff doesn’t always interact well with you or among each other, this could point to a lack of structure in the office which can in turn lead to issues with your family’s dental care. Stick with an office that is friendly with you and amongst each other.
19. Visit an Office that isn’t Overbooked
No one wants to wait for hours on end to be seen. If you find yourself always waiting to see your dentist for more than 30 minutes every time you see them, this is a sign that your dentist is overbooking patients and unable to spend quality time with them. Opt for a dentist where you are seen quickly.
20. Ask if they Offer Continued Care
For issues such as cosmetic dentistry, you might need to visit your dentist more often. Ask if your dentist is able to provide continued care for you and your children, in order to avoid having to visit several dentists for the same issue.
Do Your Research
Choosing the right family dentist can be done easily with a bit of research. Follow the tips above to choose the best dentist for you and your children!