If you're trying to find a local dentist that can best meet the needs of you and your family, you may want a brief overview of the various aspects of dental care. Helpful information about the different dental services that are available can give you a better understanding as you seek out the right local dentist in your particular area.
Aside from convenience and accommodation, if you have to travel to different locations for outsourced services, a dentist that has everything in-house may be a better alternative, so let's take a look at a few points you should consider when choosing a dentist.
Typically, when people are looking for a dentist, they will call a dentist closest to their home or place of work to make appointments convenient for their schedules. Ideally, you want to choose a dentist that's a general dentist or a family dentist.
General dentists are licensed to treat a host of oral conditions and dental issues. They will help to create a treatment plan and provide recommendations for your care. If it becomes necessary, your dentist may refer you to a specialist if you need to see a specialized dental practitioner. A licensed dentist is usually considered a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine).
Your dentists will provide oral care and dental treatment with help from their dental hygienists, as well as their dental assistants. It's your dental hygienist who performs professional dental cleanings and they may be Registered Dental Hygienists, (RDH), or Registered Dental Hygienists with Extended Functions, (RDHEF).
You may on occasion see a dental assistant who may assist your dentist during a procedure. They may help to set up your anesthesia, they may expose and develop your x-rays or perform other assigned tasks. By law, a dentist has to be present when a dental hygienist and dental assistant are working as they must be under the dentist's supervision.
When choosing a new dentist and practice, whether it's for cosmetic dentistry procedures such as veneers and teeth whitening, or if it's for restorative procedures like crowns and fillings, it is important to consider the following 12 factors:
1. Ask out how long the practice has been operating. Is it a new practice or just a new location?
2. Inquire about the training and clinical experience of the dentist before they perform a particular procedure that you may need. For example, not all dentists have the same training. Some may be more familiar and experienced in cosmetic dentistry procedures. In addition, certain procedures, like a porcelain veneer (anterior), may have an esthetic and functional purpose. Instead of a standard restoration that offers no esthetic benefit, a procedure that satisfies both needs might be a better alternative. This should be investigated with the dentist prior to the procedure to ensure they have the appropriate training and adequate experience to perform the procedure that will best meet your particular needs.
3. If your dentist doesn't perform the procedures you require, ask them for a referral.
4. Before settling on a particular dentist, discuss the various procedures that you may need. Weigh the pros and cons of each.
5. Has your dentist had continuing education? Ask about the types of professional dental societies your dentist may participate in to ensure they have up-to-date training on the latest technological procedures and advances in their field.
6. Inquire about the emergency services that the practice has in place. For example, if you have a dental emergency will your dentist be available on weekends or after hours?
7. Ask about any pre-medication comforts that might be included. Some dentists offer nitrous oxide, soothing music, and even heating pads to calm their patients' nerves.
8. If you are seeing your dentist for a cosmetic dentistry procedure, ask about their photos of patients before-and-after. It may help if you have a photo that you bring to your appointment of the anticipated result you would like from your cosmetic dental procedure. That way you can have a reasonable expectation of what to expect.
9. Map out the costs of your dental visits before your treatments. Costs should be determined ahead of time and may include fees for your procedure, anesthesia, and the facility in the overall total. Depending on your particular type of dental insurance, you may have professional cleanings and exams included, along with metal fillings. You may have limited coverage for composite fillings with an enamel or natural finish, and restorative work like dentures, bridges, and crowns. Orthodontia coverage may vary from one plan to the next. The billing department can let you know with your initial visit what you may need to pay out-of-pocket for each visit and determine when your deductible has been met each calendar year.
10. Is the dentist's office convenient to your home, school or place of business? This can be an important factor if you require multiple visits for a procedure that may require fittings like for a crown, dentures or veeners, for example.
11. Do you find the dental team to be helpful and courteous? If you don't feel comfortable with the staff, you may not want to see the dentist long-term.
12. Does the dentist offer an in-house dental plan if you don't have insurance? Some dentists have their own types of payment plans set up making it easier for patients to still receive regular cleanings and exams even if they're not covered by a dental insurance provider.
We hope that covers all of the point you should consider in finding a new dentist. If you have any questions about your particular dental care or if you're unsure about your payments and insurance coverage options, we invite you to call Fairview Dental Arts. Not only do we try to focus on all 12 points for our patients, but if you need a great dental practice that's caring and flexible, we'd love to meet you. We even offer an in-house dental plan that doesn't require insurance.
If you have questions about your dental care, your insurance plan or payments, or if you would like to set up an appointment, you can call and speak with us at (610) 630-2373. We can even try to get you on the schedule the same day if you'd like to stop in. Fairview Dental Arts is conveniently located in Norristown and we'll make you our top priority. Contact us today! We can't wait to meet you and your family!