Do you need to find a dentist? Whether you recently moved to a new area or you just want to switch practices, take a look at the top questions to ask before you select a dental professional for your family.
How Far In Advance Are You Scheduling Patients?
When was your last dental checkup and cleaning? According to the American Dental Association (ADA), different patients have different dentist office visit needs. The ADA notes that some patients may only need to schedule routine appointments annually or biannually. But other patients may need extra office visits—especially if the patient has serious dental decay, periodontal disease, or other oral care issue.
If you haven't seen the dentist in years or have missed a few regular appointments, you need to find a practice that can see you as soon as possible. After you schedule your first visit, ask the office staff for information on typical availability and scheduling intervals. The practice should have a schedule that meets your individual appointment needs.
Can Your Whole Family Visit The Same Practice?
Do you prefer a family dentist to separate general and pediatric practices? If it's easier for everyone in your family to use the same practice, make sure the dentist works with both children and adults.
Is the Practice In-Network?
Will your dental insurance pay for your annual cleanings and other visits? It may pay for all or some of the costs (depending on the plan's allowances) if the dentist is an in-network provider. In-network providers have existing agreements with insurance companies. The insurer negotiates discounts with the provider. The dental provider passes these discounts on to the patient, making it possible to pay less for regular care and restorative treatments.
You can see an out-of-network provider or go to a dentist if you don't have insurance. But you will pay more for the same services.
What Types Of Technology And Techniques Does The Dentist Use?
While you don't need a breakdown of every technique the dentist uses to treat patients, you may want to know more about whether the provider incorporates modern technology and practices into their services. Ask the staff about the types of tech the dentist uses for everything from x-rays and imaging to patient check-in and scheduling. This question will only apply to patients who have a technology use preference.
Along with technology, you may also want to know more about the dentist's engagement in professional development activities and education. Dental professionals who regularly attend conferences or stay up to date on the latest techniques may offer a wider variety of treatments or treatments that are easier, less time-consuming, and less expensive than the older options.