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5 Essential Things to Ask When Choosing a New Dental Office

Choosing a new dental office due to a relocation or because you are not happy can seem overwhelming. There seems to be a dentist on every corner so how do you know that you are finding one that is a perfect match for you? While all dentists and dental hygienists may have graduated and are licensed we have gathered five things that you can ask to make sure you are choosing a dentist and a team who are as exceptional as you are!

  1. Does the dentist keep up with changing technology, techniques and procedures?

    Practicing dentistry involves constant updating of skills. You do not want to choose a new dentist who is practicing old dentistry! Ask about filling materials, whitening, tooth replacement in one day and cosmetic dentistry! Ask what kind of continuing education the dentist values and ask what kind of training and education he provides for his staff. A progressive team is going to be able to provide the standard of care that you need!

  1. Does the dental office meet all standards for sterilization of instruments and disinfection of the operatories?

    A good office will have nothing to hide when it comes to how they handle sterilization. They have standards that must be met and many teams decide to meet and exceed those standards. Ask for a tour! A sterilization area must have either a chemiclave or an autoclave; designated labeled areas for dirty and clean instruments and packaging to keep sterilized instruments sterile until they are opened for use. Make sure that the office is also sterilizing the dental hand pieces and disinfecting all surfaces. An excellent practice will keep you safe!

  1. Does the office make individualized, patient specific treatment plans or do they cater to insurance companies?

    Insurance companies do not have your best interest in mind. Their main concern is to make a profit. So if they say you can only see a dentist once a year and will not cover major work, that does not mean you do not need those things. A good dental practice will assess your needs and make a treatment plan that best serves you; they won't allow insurance companies to dictate treatment.

  1. Does the office make time to explain everything?

    In the past, when dentistry was relatively simple, a dentist could discuss options with a patient in a matter of minutes. That often meant do we take it out or not! Now with all the treatment options available it doesn't make sense to wait until you are in the dental chair to ask about what your options are. Modern dental offices often offer the services of a treatment coordinator, a person with extensive dental training, who can sit with you in a consult room and go over your treatment plan. This is the time for you to ask questions and raise concerns. A good treatment coordinator will also be able to offer other options and make alterations to a treatment plan to come up with one that you fully understand and feel comfortable with.

  1. Does the dental office respect your time and schedule?

    Convenient hours including some weeknights and weekends are not the only ways a practice respects your time. A good practice will endeavor to start on time, stay on time and end on time. There will always be unavoidable changes in schedule but they should be the exception rather than the rule. Another way to respect your time is for an office to offer appointment reminders and confirmations by text and email. Constant phone calls should be a way of the past. Emails can give you plenty of notice that you have an appointment coming up and you can choose whether you get more reminders or not. Ask whether the office utilizes this new technology.

Our final recommendation is to arrange a tour! A great dental office will love the opportunity to show off their space and their smiles! Walk around, ask questions and follow your intuition… Your new dental family will make you feel right at home!

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