Find A Local Dentist… Fast!
Finding and selecting a new local dentist clinic can be a pretty stressful experience.
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Obviously, we’re not talking about finding a dentist to help during an urgent dental emergency. But we are talking about finding a new dentist for routine health care or for specific needs or procedures.
Finding A New Dentist Clinic
We’re going to offer some in-depth information below, but here we’ll summarize some things to be considered when choosing a dental clinic:
- Health care certifications
- Hours of service
- Specific personal needs (hearing impaired, language, etc.)
- Treatment options
- Treatment plans
- Preventative measures
- Insurance and payment plans accepted
- Emergency availability
- Patient comfort and confidence
The Cost Of Neglect
Many people do not understand that oral health has a huge impact upon overall health. Neglecting good oral care can trigger or aggravate many different medical conditions. Some of those conditions can be extremely serious and even life-threatening if left untreated.
From bone loss to heart disease to stomach or intestinal problems, oral health is a serious matter. It is a matter that you cannot afford to neglect. Many of us tend not to worry about something unless it is causing us a problem. Nobody ever goes to the doctor to complain about feeling fine or having too much energy. And it is also easy to decide not to go to the dentist because you don’t have a toothache.
That is why it is important to schedule regular exams and checkups. And that means with both your general care physician as well as with your dentist. The old saying about prevention being better than a cure is absolutely true. And not only is it better, it is cheaper too. You don’t spend anything trying to recover from a problem you never had.
But what if you have just moved to new area?
What if your long-term dentist is going to retire?
In this article we’re going to cover ideas on how to find a new dentist. We’ll also cover a few of the things you really need to consider when selecting a new dentist clinic. Surprises are nice at birthday parties, but not so much during or after a visit to your dentist.
We’re also going to help you find that new dentist wherever you happen to be.
We’re also going to help you find that new dentist wherever you happen to be.
But before you start your search, it’s a good idea to know what type of dental practice is best for your needs.
Here are some types of dentists, dental specialties or situations and dental clinic arrangements that are commonly sought through this site, as well as a few other considerations that might concern you:
A family dentist or a general dentist will be able to take care of the typical needs of you or your entire family. Many family dentists or general dentists also offer more specialized services like cosmetic dentistry or pediatric dentistry. We will also cover those specialties separately.
Pediatric dentists have specialized training in treating children from infants to adolescents. They are also trained in providing care to children with special needs. They provide an environment that is calming and which might even be fun, thus promoting relaxation and comfort.
While general or family dentists focus upon overall oral health and prevention of dental problems, cosmetic dentists concentrate upon enhancing the appearance of your smile. The boost in self-confidence that comes from an improved appearance cannot be overstated. Advances in technology and the materials used in cosmetic dentistry have made it quick and affordable to improve your appearance.
If you have problems with misaligned teeth, crowded teeth or an overbite or an underbite, an orthodontist is just what the doctor will order.
Orthodontists can provide all of the same services and treatments that a family dentist can offer, but they have additional training that allows them to treat developing or existing problems with the teeth and jaws.
Emergency Dentist &
After Hours Dentist
If you’ve lost a filling, that probably won’t become an emergency over the next few days. But if your kid catches a softball with his mouth or you take a face-first spill off of that new scooter you got for Christmas, you may have a dental emergency.
In short, any situation that requires immediate treatment requires a visit to an emergency dentist.
A walk-in dentist treats dental emergencies, but they will also treat non-emergency situations for people who don’t have a regular dentist or who don’t have access to their regular dentist. If you are travelling and lose a filling or develop some inflammation or irritation, a walk-in dentist can provide the care you need as you need it, without repeat visits or long term treatment plans.
As you will see below, we go into a little more detail about that and offer some suggestions that will help you get the oral care you need without breaking the bank.
Not every dentist accepts Medicaid for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t remove the need for adequate dental care. Fortunately, there are dentists in almost every area who do accept Medicaid. There are also resources to help you find income-based dentist clinics.
And now that you have a better idea of the type of dental care you need, let’s get busy matching your needs to a local dental practice:
Find A Dentist:
Dentist Clinic Resources
Even if you are new in town, finding a new dentist doesn’t have to be left to chance or luck.
You can always:
1. Use The American Dental Association’s “Find A Dentist” tool.
It’s great if you are new in town and don’t have too many local contacts. It is also helpful if you are travelling and have a dental emergency.
Find a local ADA certified dentist by visiting here.
2. Ask for recommendations.
Friends and co-workers can usually point you toward their own health care providers. They can also tell you what they like and don’t like. That’s a great starting point from which to begin.
You can also ask your doctor or your pharmacist who they might suggest.
If you are travelling or have no one to refer you to someone, call the local Chamber of Commerce. Ask for the names of some dentists or dentist clinics who belong to local civic organizations.
But whether you have moved to a new area, or your long-term dentist is retiring, once you have a prospective dentist in mind; consider these factors as a starting point to make sure that you are pleased with your choice:
1.Certifications & Training
The most important thing to be considered is the established qualifications of your new prospective dentist. Likewise the training of the staff at that practice. Make sure that they are competent and up to date with the latest techniques and technologies. That is critical to your care and comfort.
Select a dentist who is certified by the American Dental Association. One who is committed to continuing education for everyone at that clinic. As mentioned above, the ADA maintains a great tool to help you find certified health care providers that you can use by clicking here.
But even a great dentist with an excellent staff still needs to have a good…
This will seem like a no-brainer, but it is a common issue. A lot of people fail to consider the ease of getting to and from a new dentist clinic. They also have to consider the times of day that they are most likely to go. A great dentist with a great staff will easily make you overlook an inconvenient location. But as long as you are searching for a new oral health care professional; be sure to take into account the ease – or lack thereof – of getting to and from the practice at the times you will most likely visit
And that means you should also consider…
3. Hours Of Service
Are you flexible when it comes to appointment days and times?
Does a prospective clinic offer enough flexibility to accommodate your schedule? Many dental clinics today offer early morning or late evening appointments. Some even have weekend appointments available – so that keeping up with your oral health care doesn’t have to disrupt the rest of your life
Getting to and from the dentist at a workable time are important considerations, but what about other…
4. Personal Needs
Is English your first or primary language?
Do you or does someone in your care have special needs? Needs such as handicapped accommodations concerning mobility or sight or hearing? Communication, comfort and understanding are essential to your dentist as a health care provider; and to you or your family as patients. Be sure that the doctors and staff at your prospective clinic understand your specific needs. Check that they are trained and capable of meeting them without a problem.
So now that you know you can easily get to your appointments at a clinic where your specific circumstances can be accommodated, you need to talk about…
5. Treatment Options
Are you looking for a general dentist to take care of the entire family?
Do you have specific needs such as cosmetic restorations? Choosing a dentist who offers a wide range of services will ensure that more of your oral health care needs can be met by a single health care provider. If you have periodontal disease or other potentially serious conditions related to oral health, select a dentist who is competent in those specialties.
But just as important as the treatment options are…
6. Treatment Plans
Like we’ve said, surprises may be great at a birthday party. However they are not great when you receive a bill for treatments or services rendered by your new dentist. When you visit a new dental clinic (in a non-emergency situation), the first order of business should be a comprehensive evaluation of your oral health. From that, treatment plans should be developed that will address your needs from most urgent to least urgent. In this way, your dentist can discuss with you the treatments and procedures you need. The timeline for performing these treatments and the estimated costs involved can be laid out. This removes surprise from the equation and lets you make sensible decisions concerning your treatment.
A solid plan for handling current conditions is essential, but what about…
7. Preventative Dentistry
You want to make sure that your new dentist is always monitoring your overall dental health. That they are working on keeping little problems from becoming big ones. Monitoring the status of developing problems that aren’t advanced enough to require immediate care will help to avoid a dental emergency later on. This is especially true in terms of keeping an eye on the integrity of previous dental work and verifying that it is still sound rather than beginning to degrade or even fail.
Naturally, all of these things must be done at a pace and at a cost that is manageable
Consequently, it is important to discuss…
8. Insurance & Payments
If you have dental insurance, choosing a dentist who is in your network will simplify the billing and payment process. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use a dentist who is not in your network. It is important to discuss insurance up front and make sure that your dentist will file claims on your behalf with your insurance carrier. Dental insurance usually doesn’t really work like other health insurance programs. It is often more like a “pre-payment” plan wherein you have paid in advance against future needs. The cost limitations of those future needs have already been agreed upon between your insurance network and the health care providers within that network. That’s why going outside of your network requires that you and your new dentist be on the same page concerning charges and filing of claims
If you don’t have dental insurance or would like to consider additional options, just click here to explore.
However, some people do not have insurance, and insurance doesn’t always cover the full cost of certain needs. Consequently, you need to know up front if your new dentist supports patient financing options.
You have already determined that your new dentist clinic can accommodate your schedule, but what about…
9. Dental Emergencies
Hopefully, you will never experience a dental emergency. But if you do happen to break a tooth on a Friday night, or if one of the kids has a skateboarding accident on a Sunday morning, who do you call? Many dentists are available to personally handle dental emergencies, but some refer you to other urgent health care providers. And that is OK, the main thing is knowing who to call for immediate help if a dental emergency arises.
We’ve covered a lot of potential concerns here that need to be investigated when looking for a new dentist clinic.
But in the final analysis, a lot of weight rests entirely upon your level of…
Do you get a “good feeling” from the doctor and the staff? Are they oriented toward putting patients at ease and making them feel relaxed? Are the surroundings at the dental clinic clean and orderly and inviting?
Be sure to discuss other important considerations even if they are not needed right now, because someday you may experience:
Urgent Care Dental Needs
If an urgent care dental emergency arises on a weekend or a holiday – or in the middle of the night – who do you call?
As mentioned above, understanding the hours during which your dentist is available to take care of urgent care dental needs is critical to your health and comfort. You do not want to wait until the dental emergency arises to find out that your new dentist is only available from 8:00 – 5:00, Monday through Friday. Have that discussion up front, before you have that urgent dental need.
But even if a great new dentist is not personally available for emergencies, you should get their recommendations for primary and secondary options for:
After Hours, Walk-In &
24-Hour Dental Care
Obviously, you would rather use your primary dentist even for emergency treatments. But emergencies have a way of cropping up at the worst of times. Even if your dentist is available for urgent dental care needs, there is always a chance that your urgent need might arise while your dentist is out of town or unavailable for other reasons. That is why you should discuss such possibilities and get suggestions for an after hours dentist or even a 24-hour dentist that can accept walk-in patients. Especially in larger cities, there are 24-hour clinics with walk-in dental services or qualified dentists on call for emergencies.
Your New Local Dentist
Being comfortable with your new local dentist and having confidence in their judgement concerning your care is critical to becoming a satisfied, long-term patient who will have you telling your friends about your great dentist too.
Addressing all of the concern outlined here will ensure that you and your new local dentist are all on the same page concerning your needs and your expectations.
So now you can start your search for a new dentist clinic equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision that will be a good fit for your needs!