Finding a dentist involves more than simply scanning the Yellow Pages, choosing the first name in a list and booking your first appointment.
You need a location that’s convenient, an office that’s agreeable and, of course, a dentist you approve of. This article explores three simple steps to find a dentist.
Step 1: Find a Convenient Location
Word of mouth: Ask around. Family, friends and colleagues are all great sources. At work, pose the “who do you know” question during lunch or over coffee. Send an email to your office mates asking for advice. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends asking your doctor or pharmacist for referrals.
Internet: Go online. The ADA suggests searching your local or state dental society for listings on their website: www.ada.org. Even a simple Google search will yield many names (sometimes more names than you know what to do with!). Try a website which locates dentists around you, rates and ranks them, and even provides customer reviews of them. Hint: That’s what Good Dentist or Not (GDON) does!
The combination technique: The best way to find a dentist is to use both approaches. Ask around to get ideas and then go to our website for reviews. Or, find a dentist through GDON and then ask people in your network if they’ve heard of him or her.
Step 2: Consider the Office
Atmosphere: When you first walk through the door, how do you feel? Are the walls old, gray and cracked? Or, is the room pleasant, visually appealing and welcoming? Do you feel comfortable?
Staff: How are you greeted? Are members of the staff receptive to your questions? Do they seem calm or stressed, talkative or anti-social?
Facilities: How is the state of the exam room, equipment and machines? When you look around, are things clean and organized, or grimy and disheveled?
Affordability: How much do standard procedures cost, will your insurance cover them and how do the prices compare to other offices?
Step 3: Evaluate the Dentist
Results: “The proof is in the pudding,” as they say. In other words, you won’t know the true quality of a dentist’s ability until you’ve had a chance to see him or her in action. How did everything turn out? How much pain was involved? Overall, were you pleased with the outcome?
Relationship: Did you get along? Were you at ease? Could you see yourself building a long-term professional relationship with this person? If not, take heart and continue the search; even the ADA suggests you see more than one dentist in your hunt.
To find a dentist you will have to put in some time and effort. But in your search, don’t forget to have fun, and smile, because your teeth are worth it!