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How to Find a Good Dentist: 4 Tips

Did you know that nearly 36 out of 100 people have a fear of going to the dentist? This keeps over a third of the population from taking care of minor dental issues before they become serious.

Yet, this fear ends up becoming a vicious self-propelling cycle. You don’t go to the dentist for small things that could be caught early, but you are forced to go when they become complicated (read: painful and pricey).

This whole cycle could be avoided if you just had the right dentist. Regardless of your past history with dental offices, there are excellent doctors out there, and many are likely in your driving range.

Whether you want to be proactive and take care of your teeth before problems happen or you need to see someone soon, use these tips to help you find your ideal dentist.

1. Ask Around

Recommendations from people you know and trust are vital. You ask people about restaurants, movies, and other, more trivial concerns. Now, it’s time to start digging up the skinny on the dentists near you.

As with any doctor, you’re probably going to get a range of responses. It’s rare to find a medical professional loved by everyone. (But if you do find this dentist, add them to the top of your list to try to schedule an appointment with them.)

The type of experience each person receives often depends on the reason they went to the dentist in the first place. They might have more negative feelings if they waited until the care was urgent. Try to get a neutral or majority opinion from friends, family members, and acquaintances.

2. Compare Names to Your Dental Insurance Plan

First, let’s clarify how dental insurance works. You don’t need insurance to see the dentist. In fact, many policies have a relatively low annual coverage limit of a few thousand dollars. 

Dental insurance is helpful because it usually pays for wellness and preventive care, like cleanings, exams, and x-rays. But these visits are relatively inexpensive anyway, sometimes costing about the same thing as an annual dental insurance premium.

However, insurance does minimize the impact of expensive treatments, such as root canals and extractions. If it’s important to you to find a dentist in your insurance plan’s network, compare the recommendations you received to the list of providers covered by your policy.

3. Look for Dentists That Handle Your Dental Needs

What are your dental goals? Do you need an office that provides family care (children through geriatrics)? Is your most pressing concern cosmetic? Are you solely interested in cleanings and exams? Are you worried about the teeth chattering and grinding issues you’re experiencing?

The dental needs you have will pinpoint your search for the right dentist. It’s one thing to find an office everyone you talk to raves about. But, even if they’re on your list of covered dentists, if they don’t offer the treatment you need, there’s no point in going there.

Just as medical doctors go to school to gain an area of specialization, so do dentists. You’ll see practices devoted to fields like cosmetic dentistry, pediatrics, orthodontics, and other dental avenues.

If you want a general dentist who can do the fundamentals of cleaning, x-rays, exams, extractions, etc., look for a general dentist. If you’d prefer everyone in your family to see the same practitioner, a family dentist is the way to go. 

Cosmetic dentistry offices focus on the aesthetics of your smile, and dental surgeons are usually referral-based only and used for root canals, extractions, and other serious procedures.

Let your dental needs help you find your ideal office, then take the final step and visit them.

4. Check Out the Practice

You’ve used word-of-mouth and practical concerns like insurance and your dental goals so far. Now, it’s time to visit the office and let your gut instinct guide you.

Instead of calling to schedule an appointment, take a few minutes out of your day to visit the office at cosmetic dentist in Ballwin.

You can pop in and let the front desk person know you’re interested in potentially becoming a patient but that you want to look around first.

Does the office look clean and well-kept? Are the patients in the lobby content, or do they seem irritated and as though they’ve been waiting a long time? Is the staff friendly and on task?

Let your feelings determine whether you think this is the right place to handle your dental needs or whether you should keep looking. It’s hard to find the “perfect” anything, but if you feel comfortable when you walk in and look around, it’s a good start.

Conclusion

Finding the right dentist can completely change your outlook on dental visits. Using an office full of people who care about you and want the best for your oral health matters. You can find your ideal dental practice using these four tips.