People have a lot of strong emotions about going to the dentist.It is not surprising how many people suffer from crippling fear when it comes time to get dental help of any kind, even procedures as simple and harmless as a checkup or cleaning. Of course with an outlook like this being so common, many people suffer from easy to fix and even easier to prevent dental maladies because they are avoiding professional dental care out of fear.
Maybe your feelings of fear are emanating from a feeling of a lack of control or power. The best way to have power over your own dental care is to start by making an informed decision on your choice of dentist. Do not wait for a dental emergency to just choose the closest dentist near you that can make time for you on short notice. You want to be calm and comfortable when searching and choosing. Most people are not at their best when making decisions under duress.
The American Dental Association (ADA) does a lot of great things to attempt to bridge the gap between dentists and patients. They have addressed the importance of making a wise choice in selecting a dentist for your family’s dental care by offering these time tested and expert approved bits of advice when narrowing down your search:
- Get the suggestion of a dentist from your doctor or pharmacist. These people are obviously medical professionals in their own right and have an insider’s perspective on evaluating their peers.
- Get a recommendation from people you know. You know their tendencies, preferences, and good sense. Chances are, they will not lead you astray if you ask them who their favorite dentist is.
- For people that are going to be moving to a distant city or even to a new state, ask your current dentist if they have any dentist recommendations in your new city.
- You can get lots of information from your local dental society. The ADA website has a list of dental societies across the country.
- Whatever you do, do not just settle on the first dentist you find, try a few of them out before making a decision to stick with them.
If everything goes well initially, you will be sharing dental health care decisions with this person for years to come. Refine your search for a dentist by getting answers to these questions:
- Is the location convenient?
- Are the hours convenient?
- What is this dentist’s educational background?
- Does the dentist stay current with the advances made in dental technology and techniques?
- Is this dentist certified to administer several kinds of anesthesia to me?
- Is my insurance accepted in this dental practice?
- How do they handle emergency dental situations that occur outside their normal operating hours?
- Do they give a concise breakdown of all the fees before they begin work?
- Will they give you estimates on standard services like x-rays and cleanings so you can compare prices?
Once you have actually visited the dentist’s office, take note of the level of cleanliness that you see. Are the floors, equipment, and walls clean? Medical facilities, dental or otherwise, should have a commitment to cleanliness. This includes wearing latex gloves while handling items that will go into your mouth and during dental procedures. Are the employees working the front desk helpful and competent? The staff members who are customer-facing employees need to have a customer service attitude. They are there to answer your questions, so they should have a pleasant demeanor and give you the feeling that they are eager to help you.