6 Factors to Consider Before Choosing a General Dentist

Finding a dentist that can fix your oral health issues requires knowing your options. Here are factors to consider before choosing a general dentist.

While nearly 85% of Americans agree that good oral health is linked to their overall health, only 25% are extremely satisfied with their oral health. 

What's more, 42% of Americans say they don't visit a dentist as much as they would like. Some people don't go to the dentist as much as they'd like due to dental anxiety. For others, it may be financial reasons.

For some, it may be because they have not found the right dentist yet. Searching for and choosing a dentist can seem like another thing to add to our to-do lists. It doesn't have to be if you set some criteria and know what you're looking for in a dentist.

Not sure where to start when choosing a dentist? Here are six factors to consider when choosing a general dentist. 

1. Location 

This factor is simple yet underestimated. The location of your future general dentist is going to either make your life more convenient or more complicated.

Location matters when choosing a dentist. For example, if you usually go to the dentist from your place of work, you don't want to choose a location where you're likely to get stuck in traffic going to and from. 

If you have children who will also be going to this dentist, it's easier to choose a location close to you. That way, you won't have to worry about a commute each time you or a family member has an appointment scheduled. 

2. Hours and Convenience

Another factor to consider is office hours. There are some dentists who can schedule appointments on Saturdays or after 5 p.m. This might be important to you if you can't make it to an appointment during traditional office hours. 

3. Insurance and Finances

Of course, a major consideration when choosing a dentist is your finances. When looking for a dentist, check if they accept your dental insurance if you have any.

If you don't have insurance, you should ask about what type of payment plans they have. You also want to find a dentist who can give you upfront costs and estimates so that you have an idea of how much you're going to pay. 

If your future dentist accepts your insurance, you should also ask about any copays and understand your dental insurance plan for different services. 

When comparing dentist fees for different dentists, you can ask the dental practice about what common procedures cost such as a general oral exam or X-rays.

4. How They Deal With Dental Anxiety

About 9% to 20% of Americans suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia. They avoid going to the dentist because of their fear of the dentist. 

Some people with dental anxiety may avoid going to the dentist because they had a past dental experience that was painful. Others may be influenced by the media's portrayal of the dentist or stories they have heard about going to the dentist.

If you or a family member feel uneasy or anxious at the thought of going to the dentist, you'll want to find a dentist that will understand and work with your anxiety. 

Many dentists are well-aware of dental anxiety and can work with patients and take your anxiety seriously. You can talk to your dentist and ask them how they can help you deal with your anxiety.

For example, you and your dentist can come up with a hand signal that you can make if you need to stop treatment or take a break. 

5. Services They Offer

When searching for a dentist, check out the services they offer. Do they offer emergency care outside of office hours?

If you have children, do they also offer pediatric dental services? It's easier if you can find a dentist for the family instead of having different dentists for different members of your family.

6. How Comfortable You Are With Them

Another factor to gauge is how comfortable you are with your dentist and their dental practice. When you call them to make an appointment, is the staff polite and friendly?

When you go to the dental office, is the office clean and comfortable? Are you greeted by the staff?

When you talk to your dentist, do you feel like he or she listens to your concerns and answers your questions? 

Tips for Finding a General Dentist

Not sure where to get started when searching for a general dentist? It can be a daunting task especially when you do an online search and find a seemingly endless list of results. Here are some tips for finding a general dentist.

Ask for Recommendations

Asking your friends and family members for a recommendation is an easy way to find a new dentist. You can ask your friend all about the dentist, how their experience is, and anything else you want to know. 

If your friend or family lives near you, chances are the dentist is located in your area as well. 

Read Reviews

Another tip when looking at a potential dentist is to read online reviews. Reviews can give you an idea of how the dental experience at a dental practice is. However, online reviews are obviously not going to give you the whole picture. 

Check Your Insurance Website

If you have dental insurance, your insurance provider most likely has a website or directory of dentists in your area that take your insurance. You can narrow down to the list of dentists on the website and compare them based on your criteria. 

Check Their Website

When you do find a dentist, you can look through their website to get a feel of the dental practice and look at the services they offer. You can also check from their website their office hours and any emergency services they offer.

The website might also tell you other details such as if they have a missed-appointment policy or late fee. 

Final Thoughts on Choosing a General Dentist

By knowing what you want in a dentist, you can narrow down your search and find the right general dentist for you. By choosing a dentist and scheduling your next dental appointment, you are taking care of your oral health.

At Axiom Dentistry, we have eight convenient locations where you can schedule your next dental appointment. Contact us today to schedule your visit. 

Our Doctors New Patients Book Online