Associates of Dental Arts
Dr. Gregory Kivett

How to Find A Dentist

Are you looking for a dentist in Joplin MO, or anywhere else? Choosing a dentist can be a difficult but incredibly important decision. This article will offer a practical way to help make that decision a little bit easier. While doing your search, here are some general things to consider:

  • Do you want to go to an independent dental practice, or a corporate dentist’s office? Like any product or service, there can be some huge differences between a local provider and a large corporation.
  • How important is the cost of dentistry vs the quality of your dental care? We all have a budget and it is important to balance quality and price. But remember, you also get what you pay for.
  • How important is being able to get in ASAP for dental appointments? Some dental offices are busier than others. While a dentist that is slow and always has openings may not be a good sign, you need to balance that with being able to get in when you have an emergency. If you have relatively healthy teeth, you may not need to worry about getting in on short notice

So now you are ready to start your search for a dentist. But where should you start? How about the people you trust?

  • Ask you friends, neighbors or co-workers who they would recommend.
  • Ask your family doctor or local pharmacist.
  • If you're moving, ask your current dentist to make a recommendation.
  • Facebook offers a way to search for a dentists that your friends go to and read there reviews.

After getting some ideas, you can research the dentists online. As you are looking, keep asking yourself, is this a dentist I can trust?

  • Look at the reviews on a review site (Google, Yelp etc). Read the good reviews, do they seem to describe a dentist office you can trust? For the bad reviews, does the office respond in a reasonable way?
  • Check out the location, is it a reasonable distance from work or home?
  • What are the office hours? Are they convenient for your schedule?
  • Check out the website. Is it informative? What kind of impression does it give you? Does it talk about the dentist and his or her training and experience?

The next step is to call the office. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Where was the dentist educated and trained?
  • How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education?
  • How does the dentist approach preventive dentistry?
  • What does the dentist offer to help you relax and feel more comfortable during dental treatment?
  • What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours?
  • Is information provided about all fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled?
  • Is the dentist a provider for you dental plan?
  • Does the dentist offer in office financing?
  • What is the dentist's office policy on missed appointments?

While asking these questions pay attention to how the receptionist is answering your calls. Are they respectful and nice? Are they able to answer all your questions? Then, before making a dental appointment, ask the big question: Does this doctor sound like someone you can trust? If the answer is yes, make your appointment.

Finding a dentist is a major decision that can affect your long term oral health. So make sure you still pay attention on your first visit while you decide if this dentist is the one you are going to trust. When you go into the office,

  • Does the office appear to be clean, neat, and orderly? Do all surfaces and equipment in the treatment room appear clean?
  • Is the dentist and dental staff helpful and willing to answer your questions?
  • Do you observe the dentist and staff wearing gloves and other protective gear during actual patient treatment?

Make sure you are comfortable and ask any question that comes to mind, your dentist and their staff should always be happy to answer questions. After visiting with the dentist and their team, it is time to answer the big question again, is this a dentist you can trust? If the answer is yes, then great. If you still have doubts, no big deal, call around and see if there is another dentist that may be a better fit. Just remember, financing and budgets are important, but when it comes to your health, trust is even more important. A dentist you trust can help you take care of your small problems now before they turn into major (and more expensive) problems down the road.

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