What to Look for in a Dentist

Choosing a dentist is a big decision. Your dental professional is someone with whom you’ll need to feel comfortable sharing sensitive medical information, and you will be trusting him or her for critical health advice and treatment. And if you’re among the more than 60% of individuals who have dental anxiety, finding the right dentist – one who helps them feel relaxed and secure – couldn’t be more important. But how do you know what to look for? After all, shopping around for dentists isn’t something you do every day. Here are four important things to consider the next time you need a new dentist.

Ask for Recommendations

Start your search by soliciting friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers for their opinions and recommendations. They’ll be able to tell you if a practice is family friendly, if they offer flexible scheduling, and if they do consistent, high-quality work. You’ll want to look for a dentist who is easy to talk with, who takes time to explain procedures, and who makes you feel comfortable, and chances are someone in your social pool will have someone to recommend. You also can visit online review sites where patients share their experiences, both positive and negative, with local dentists.  

Check Your Benefits

There’s a lot of variance among health plans today, and understanding what yours offers will assist in your search. Some plans require you to visit dentists in their network, while others may offer lower copays for seeing preferred dental providers. At Ellicott Mills Dental, we accept most insurance plans, as well as some PPOs.

Consider Their Services

While all dental practices will provide regular check-ups and basic cleanings, you may require specialized treatment that falls outside of a dentist’s expertise. For example, sleep apnea and TMJ disorder are conditions that affect many patients, but not all dentists will offer the nuanced care required for effective treatment. As well, patients with moderate to severe cases of dental anxiety may want to narrow their search to practices that provide sedation services. If you fall into either of these categories, we invite you to visit Ellicott Mills Dental. We specialize in a wide variety of oral health services, including the treatment of sleep apnea and snoring, TMJ and bite disorders, and sedation dentistry. 

Meet and Greet

Research is great, but you won’t really know a dentist until you meet him or her. Before making an appointment, schedule a consultation to see if it’s the right fit. Bring a list of questions that are important to you, and ask about his or her qualifications, experience, affiliations, and approach. Take the opportunity to ask about policies for missed appointments, cancellations, after-hours emergencies, and advanced scheduling. The consultation also will provide you with a look around the office to determine if it appears to be clean, well-organized, and inviting. 

Familiarizing yourself with your dentist will help you feel more comfortable during office visits, but it also helps your dentist provide you with a higher level of care. At Ellicott Mills Dental, we pride ourselves on building relationships with our clients as much as we do building better smiles. We want all our clients to feel comfortable and at ease, and understanding their individual needs and concerns helps us provide them the best dental experience possible. If you’re looking for a new dentist, we hope you’ll give us a call!

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