It is important to find a dentist to perform routine preventative services as well as to address any oral health problems that may be present. A patient may need to find a new dentist after moving to a different city, after the retirement of an established dentist, or just because of growing up and moving on to a new phase in life. In any case, finding a dentist should be a priority, because serious oral health problems can develop in the absence of regular dental care.
Where to look when finding a dentist
Depending on the size of the community, there may be many different dentists to choose from or only a handful. Either way, the choice may be difficult, but these tips can make it easier.
Check the dental insurance network
Patients with dental insurance may wish to find a dentist within the network. Otherwise, the services may not be fully covered. This may pose a financial hardship if extensive dental work is needed to correct serious oral problems.
Ask for referrals
A patient may receive referrals from many trustworthy sources, such as family or friends. It can be reassuring to know that the recommendation comes from someone who has actually received services from the dentist.
Search professional organizations
Professional dental organizations often have online search tools to help patients find a dentist who is a member. This is a good way to ensure that the dentist has met or exceeded minimum requirements for professionalism, competence, and ethical behavior.
Look at online reviews
Online reviews can give the patient a general idea of the experience that others have had with the dentist in the past. In addition to looking on the site for the dentist's office, patients can search for reviews from impartial third-party sites. This can also be useful to confirm one's choice as well as to find a dentist in the first place.
What to do after finding a dentist
A patient who has received referrals and used online searches to narrow down the choice should then visit the dentist office's website for more details. The more information the practice's website can provide to the patient, the more helpful it is, but there is more to a good dental office than website design.
Ultimately, patients may want to confirm their choices by making a visit to the office itself. This provides an opportunity to get a feel for the atmosphere within the office and whether it is comfortable for the patient. It also gives the patient an opportunity to ask important questions of the dentist regarding the following:
- Office hours
- Years of practice
- Emergency services
- Academic credentials
- Specific services performed
- Patient care goals
A lack of dental care can lead to serious oral health problems. Sometimes the patient is not even aware that these are developing because there is no pain or obvious outward sign. Treating and preventing such issues requires a patient to find a dentist as soon as possible.
Request an appointment or call Dragonfly Dental of Port Charlotte at 941-676-9225 for an appointment in our Port Charlotte office.
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