How to Pick a Family Dentist
Choosing the right dentist for your family can be a daunting task. We’ve put together the following tips to make the right choice!
1: Ask for Recommendations
Begin your search by reaching out to friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues in the local area. They’ll be able to give you honest feedback – good and bad – about where to find a Hamilton dentist.
Of course, you may hear about the same names and offices from several people; dentists that receive good reviews from several sources are usually a safe bet. Even when a dentist receives glowing reviews, don’t be afraid to probe further. If in doubt, ask what could be improved about them. This helps you to build a picture of how good a dentist really is.
2: Choose a Convenient Location
Visiting the dentist usually has to be arranged to fit around work, school, and family commitments. Think about locations that work best for your lifestyle. You might choose a dentist that’s close to home, within walking distance from work or a short drive from your kids’ school.
That said, if you find a dentist that ticks all the other boxes but is a little further away than another office, don’t compromise your overall health and happiness. Spending an extra five minutes in the car to access care from an excellent Hamilton dentist is definitely worthwhile.
3: Check Operating Hours
Next, narrow your search down to dentists that offer comprehensive office hours. You might need early morning or evening appointments for yourself, afternoon appointments for the kids, and weekend coverage in case your schedule is particularly busy.
It’s also important to choose a dentist that has emergency hours, or an arrangement with another dentist or facility to accept urgent care patients.
Remember that the need for dental care doesn’t always fit into a 9-5 schedule. From the outset, choose a dentist that can accommodate your needs, without any unnecessary delays.
4: Confirm Qualifications and Licencing
Entrust your dental health only in professionals that are properly qualified, experienced, and licenced. As part of the research process, ask any prospective dentist office about the credentials of their staff. As well as standard qualifications, find out how the treatment team keep their skills brushed up, and if continuing education is part of the culture.
This might seem like overkill, but remember that the health of your teeth is an extremely important part of overall wellness. A small amount of research now can prevent problems down the line.
5: Enquire about Costs
Before going ahead with a new dentist, make sure you’re fully aware of their fee schedule. Ensure that any treatment you have – as well as its cost – has been discussed and agreed in advance.
Transparent pricing is a really good sign. A dentist that’s up front with their fees has nothing to hide, and so you can be sure that your treatment is charged fairly. If a prospective dentist is reluctant to share details of their pricing, this can be a red flag.
6: Insurance Coverage
Related to costs, check which practices are covered by your dental insurance, and whether your dentist will accept the type of insurance that you have. You don’t want to find yourself in the situation where treatment has been completed, but your insurance doesn’t cover it. Dental treatment can be very expensive – don’t get caught out on an insurance technicality.
Your insurance provider may already have a list of approved dentists, which will eliminate some of the legwork for you. If not, a quick phone call or email to each practice will give you the information you need. It’s a relatively straightforward task, but very important!
7: Arrange a Consultation
Many dentists’ offices will help you to arrange a no-obligation consultation. Sometimes you’ll be charged for this – often depending on the diagnostic procedures performed during the consultation – but you may be able to find a dentist who will have this initial appointment for free.
At the consultation, the dentist will review your existing notes, discuss any problems you currently have, take a closer look at your teeth, and they may take X-rays.
If you require treatment, the dentist will then run through your options, advising which will be the best fit for your dental health, overall health, lifestyle, and desired treatment outcomes.
Don’t forget; you’re under no obligation to jump straight into treatment, and you don’t have to stick with the dentist that performed your consult. If you’re unsure, go elsewhere for a second opinion. But if you’re happy with your first appointment, it can be a great sign!
8: Assess Your Treatment
- Did your treatment have a positive outcome?
- Was the process explained well in advance?
- Did you feel safe during the treatment itself?
- How was the aftercare?
- Were you charged the right amount for your care?
- Would you be happy to recommend this dentist to someone else?