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Tips for Identifying the Top General Dentists in Your Area
Primary care or general dentists are the dental professionals people see most frequently. They handle teeth cleanings and oral emergencies and often oversee the treatment of underlying conditions like periodontal disease. Also known as family dentists, these healthcare professionals are essential parts of an individual's healthcare team. When a person must find a new dentist after years with the same professional, it can be a struggle. Thankfully, the process does not have to be too challenging.
The 4 steps to choosing a dentist
Finding a new dentist can be a straightforward process. While some may overcomplicate things by creating long lists of wants for a family dentist, staying realistic and following guidelines often leads to success. Essentially, finding a new dentist can be as easy as following through on four simple steps.
1. Know your requirements
While it is important to limit a list of wants and expectations, it is still necessary to come up with a few things that are essential to a personal healthcare plan. The proximity of the dental office to a home or workspace may be important. Also, many people need a dentist who works late. Another thing to consider, especially when dealing with insurance, is if the dentist is covered in the provider network. Make a list of requirements before starting to search and make sure that every dentist on the short list checks all of the boxes.
2. Conduct a thorough search
There are several ways to gather a list of potential general dentists. Ask friends, family, neighbors and even co-workers for referrals. Look into professional associations, like the ADA. Many of these associations have websites with search tools for identifying dentists by location and specialty. Nowadays it is also possible to find potential dentists on social media platforms.
3. Call and interview
After collecting a list of prospective primary care dentists, it is time to call and interview each location. Many dental offices may be accommodating and allow future patients a free consultation where a dialogue can take place in person. However, even a phone conversation can be enlightening. Before calling any office, put together a few questions to get a discussion started. For example, ask about how emergencies are handled, whether the staff are familiar with a particular dental care plan or how instructions are provided.
4. Schedule an appointment
Last, schedule an appointment with the office that seemed most knowledgeable, approachable and informative. On the day of the appointment, pay special attention to all interactions and feelings. If the chosen dentist office does not feel comfortable, then move to the next choice on the list until one feels right.
There are plenty of general dentists across the country. While the availability of these primary tooth care professionals may be intimidating when selecting a new dentist, following these four steps can make the process easier. If the first three steps have been completed, then it is time to make an appointment and get the mouth health care you need.
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