How to Find the Right Family Dentist
Finding the right dentist is essential to helping you maintain your oral health. The right local dentist will be able to guide you and help you when needed. It is therefore important to take your time when searching for a new one. If you are looking for one dentist to care for your entire family, then you need to be sure that the one you choose has the right qualifications and can meet the needs of every single one of your family members, regardless of their age and particular oral health. Here is what to look for when searching for a new family dentist.
What Is Family Dentistry?
A family dental practice is one in which every member of your family can be treated regardless of their age. Some family dentists can see adults and children alike while others may have a separate, partner practice that works with children. Either way, the benefit of choosing a family dentist is that your whole family can see them and build a rapport with the dentist and staff. Instead of having to juggle a different dentist for each family member, each with their own policies and online portals, you can all visit the same office which is much more convenient. Plus, family dental practices make it much easier for patients to develop a trusting relationship as the dentist gets to know everyone in the family. These practices offer convenience and frustration-free appointments.
Experience, Skill, and Qualifications
While all dentists need to be licensed to even be able to practice dentistry in the first place, not all are created equal and may be better suited for different kinds of treatment. A local dentist that has been in practice for many years will have seen a lot of issues and know how to treat them effectively. This can give you peace of mind in knowing that your new dentist can handle any sort of problem brought their way. For example, if they have seen many root canals in the past, then they will confidently know whether it’s better to treat the root canal or remove the tooth. Furthermore, you can trust in their ability as they carry out the prescribed treatment. The procedures they complete are more likely to be successful and they should have a track record of successful procedures under their belt already.
If you know of any specific oral issues you or your family members might have, then bring them up to your prospective dentist to be sure they have the right qualifications to deal with them. It is also helpful to be upfront with your new dentist about pre-existing conditions so that they can be prepared to better help you. After all, your new dentist will be like your partner and a team member within the family whose aim is to encourage healthy teeth, gums, and smiles.
Check Out Patient Reviews
Even if you’re sure your new dentist can handle the needs of your family’s oral health, you should always read the reviews written by past patients. These reviews can give you insight into what it’s like to work with this particular dentist. Even the most qualified practitioners with the highest-quality skills can be unpleasant to be around. Remember what we said earlier, that your dentist is like your partner. If past patients were unhappy with their care, it may be a sign to look elsewhere for your family’s new partner. Your local dentist should be attentive to your needs, be willing to explain medical terminology, and be able to provide more than just one option when it comes to treatment or be willing to explain why only one option exists. Additionally, the staff should be friendly and professional. Going to the dentist can already be stressful enough, so never settle for a bad experience that could have been avoided by doing your due diligence.
Treating a Wide Range of Ages
Since you are looking for a family dentist, you must make sure that your prospective dentist is able to treat every member of your family. Keep in mind that family dentistry does not necessarily mean pediatric dentistry, so if you have young kids, you may need to widen your search. For example, does your local dentist have a separate practice for kids? If your family has teenagers in it, then your dentist should know how to talk to teens and encourage them to keep up with their oral health. Different age groups have different needs which is why you’ll need to carefully consider the abilities of your dentist. Teenagers may need wisdom pulled or Invisalign aligners installed. On the other hand, young adults may be more likely to be interested in teeth whitening and dental veneers. If your family also includes elders, then be sure the dentist can work with dentures and other needs that may occur later in life. Finding a dentist that can treat a wide range of ages means looking into the specific needs of varying age ranges and making sure the dentist is experienced with them.
Your Family’s Specific Needs
When you search for the right local dentist for your family, remember to take into account the personal or specific needs of your family. This goes beyond the types of treatments that the dentist is able to work with but has more to do with the additional services they might offer. For example, if you have a family member who is afraid or nervous about going to the dentist, then you will want to find a dental practice that offers sedation. Sedation dentistry is a great method for calming down patients and giving them a more relaxed and peaceful experience. This is a very common offering among family dentists. In fact, 15% of people in the U.S. say they are afraid or worried about going to the dentist, and sedation dentistry is specifically designed for them. Additionally, emergency services might be something you know you’ll take advantage of if your teenagers play sports or if they have conditions that may warrant an unexpected visit to the dentist. If any of your family members have special needs, then talk about them with your prospective dentist to ensure they are equipped to work with you and meet any challenges that may arise during treatment.
Convenient Location, Hours, and Scheduling
A family can be a busy unit. Each member may have work or school and ensuring that everyone can get to their dentist appointment may be a challenge. Therefore, when you’re searching for a local dentist, don’t just choose an office that is in your town, but one that is specifically in a convenient location. This could mean you choose one that is on the way to school or work. While most offices will have standard hours, it doesn’t hurt to remember to check them. The last thing you need is to choose a dentist only to find out it closes before the only time that’s convenient for you to go to an appointment. Ask the office some more questions about their hours and scheduling to be sure they are a good fit for your family. For example, how soon in advance should appointments be made? How easily can appointments be rescheduled? How does the office handle cancellations, especially ones with late notice? Getting the answers to these questions ahead of time will save you from running into trouble down the road that could have been easily avoided.
Make Sure the Practice Accepts Your Insurance
You may find the perfect local dentist for your family, but if they don’t accept your insurance then your search will have been for nothing. This is a small detail with large repercussions that should not be overlooked. In fact, as you begin your search, you should immediately narrow down the options by the type of insurance they take. Alternatively, if you have a choice between insurance offered by you or your spouse’s work, then you could consider switching to a different insurance company in order to secure the dentist who accepts it. There are a lot of options out there, so don’t feel like you are ever trapped into one.
A Wide Variety of Payment Options
With so much hustle and bustle going on in your family, looking for a local dentist that accepts multiple payment options could end up being a lifesaver. If you ever forget your credit card at home, for example, the office might accept online payments so that you can pay as soon as you get home. If you don’t have a credit card, the office might accept cash. Alternatively, if you’re planning on paying for your teenager’s appointment but can’t make the appointment yourself, will the office allow you to give your credit card to your teenager? Many dental offices may even keep your card on file so that you and your family members never have to bring a physical copy of it, offering unparalleled convenience. You should also consider what to do in the event that you can’t pay upfront for a treatment. Does the office offer payment plans so you can pay installments over a few months? What about CareCredit? These options will ensure your family can keep coming back for treatment and appointments when you need them.
The Most Up to Date Technology
The medical industry is always evolving, and that means the latest technology is always changing. You will want to be sure that your prospective dentist uses the most up-to-date tools. These tools will help ensure that the dentist can effectively and efficiently treat you and your family members. Technology includes things like digital imaging, x-rays, quality implants and prosthetics, and picture-taking tools. It can also be things like a patient portal that you can access online to conveniently schedule appointments and leave messages for your dentist. The option to pay your bill online may also be important to you. Even the smallest of advances can add up to an overall good experience, and a good experience includes more than just the treatment you receive, but the visit.
A Holistic Health Approach
While oral health is just one part of the rest of your health, it is just as important as the rest and can even go a long way in improving the rest of your body. A qualified local dentist will use a holistic approach when it comes to your health. That is, they will understand how every part of your body works together to create a healthy you. A dentist who uses this approach will be more likely to produce successful results with procedures and be able to give worthwhile advice about how to best care for your oral health. For example, they will recommend different kinds of food to eat that will both give your body nutrients and encourage your teeth to be strong and healthy. Nutrition will play a large role in the dentist’s practice. This type of dentist will also be able to teach your family members how to effectively brush their teeth, floss, and use mouthwash. They’ll explain how keeping your mouth clean and healthy will have a positive impact on the rest of your body. This message is especially important for families because encouraging healthy habits at a young age, even for teenagers, will set up healthy adults for the future.
Opinions From the Rest of Your Family
While you may be the primary person looking for a new local dentist for your family, you should not overlook the opinions of your family members. Each one of you will be seeing this dentist so it’s important that everyone feels comfortable with the chosen practice, especially since going to the dentist can already be nerve-wracking for a lot of people. When you meet the prospective dentist for the first time, consider bringing your family with you. Be sure to also let your family know what the office hours are so they can give their input on whether those hours work for them or not. Ultimately, remember that you’re looking for a family dentist, which means the focus should be on your family.
As you search for a new local dentist, keep these things in mind so that you can effectively find a dentist that will work well for you and your family. You’re looking for a partner as much as you are a medical professional, so your new dentist should be someone you feel you can trust and that can meet the needs of each of your family members. When you’re ready to get started with the quality services we have to offer, schedule an appointment today and let us care for your family!