Searching for a dentist can be a difficult and stressful process. It can be hard to know which dentists will meet your needs and filter out the ones that won’t. Even if you’ve found a dentist you’re interested in going to, you may still be wary of whether or not they’re the right one for you.
When finding a new dentist, it’s important to understand how the practice is run. You will want to ask any prospective dentists several questions before making a final decision. However, many people don’t know the right questions to ask. If you find yourself in this position, check out our list of questions for some ideas.
Questions to Ask a Dentist
- How long has the dentist been in practice? Some people prefer going to experienced dentists over those who have just graduated from dental school. Knowing how long the dentist has been in practice may help you make your decision if you are looking for someone with more on-the-job experience.
- Is the dentist accepting new patients? If the dentist isn’t accepting new patients currently, you probably want to keep searching. There are no guarantees that the dentist will be accepting patients by the time you need to go in for your appointment.
- What are the office hours of the practice? If you have a flexible schedule, this may not be an issue. However, if you are on a strict school or work schedule, you may want to find a practice that is open at a time that is convenient for you.
- How much do the services cost? If you don’t have insurance or a dental plan, you will definitely want to check into the prices of the most common procedures. Dental offices vary in pricing, so if your goal is to find the cheapest dentist, this is a crucial question to ask. Even if money isn’t a problem for you, and you’re more interested in a personal relationship with the dentist, it still may be helpful to have the prices in the back of your mind.
- Does the dentist accept children? If you’re looking for a dentist for your entire family, you’ll want to find a dentist that services both adults and children. That way, you don’t have to go to two or three different dentists.
- Does the dentist refer out to other offices? You may also want to find out if your dentist refers to specialists often, or if he performs most of those procedures himself. If the dentist does refer to specialists, you may also want to speak with the specialist(s) before deciding on a dentist.
- How are dental emergencies handled? If you have a sudden accident and need dental attention immediately, will the dentist be able to work you in? Or will you be forced to wait in pain for an open appointment? Emergencies happen, and you will want to know how your dentist handles them.
- Does the dentist accept your insurance or discount plan? If you have insurance or a discount dental plan, you will want to find a dentist who is a provider of the insurance or plan. Otherwise, you will not be able to receive benefits and will end up paying much more.
Questions to Ask Yourself
In addition to these eight questions to ask the dentist, you may also want to ask yourself some questions in assessing the quality of the practice.
- Does the practice appear neat and sanitary? If you walk in the practice and the first thing you see is cracked walls, a stained ceiling and a flickering light bulb, it’s probably a sign that the building isn’t well-kept. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable having your teeth cleaned in it, then you should keep looking.
- Does the staff seem helpful and friendly? You probably don’t want a rude dentist, or even a nice dentist with a rude staff. If you have kids, evaluate how well the staff relates to children. It’s important for you and anyone else who will be going to this dentist to enjoy and trust the staff.
- Is the office in a convenient location for you to travel to? Wherever you will be coming from – work, home, or school – you will want to make sure that the office is in a convenient location for the mode of transportation you will be using.
It’s important to know exactly what you can expect at the dentist. Though it can be a hard process to find a dentist, asking the right questions can help get you one step closer to making the final decision. Ultimately, the most important thing is to find a dentist that you trust.