We love helping our patients and friends whenever we can. As we mentioned in our first blog on this topic, when our patients get job transfers or other reasons leading to their need to relocate, we do all we can to network with well respected, quality dentists we know in other locations to find a great referral. If that does not produce one or more referrals, then we recommend these six steps for choosing a dentist.
In addition to checking with dentists in your current/last location, and specialists in your new location, additional sources to contact for recommendations for respected general dentists in a new location can be:
- Talk to other non-dental health professionals you are acquainted with, such as physicians, podiatrists, optometrists, veterinarians, psychologists, pharmacists, chiropractors, hospital administrators, public health officials.
- Contact the local dental society. They may vary in their willingness to help with names, but it is another place to start.
- Call the dental schools in your city or the cities nearby. Dental educators know the abilities of previous students and colleagues.
- Contact the local dental hygiene schools can be a similar source for recommendations.
- Call local dental laboratories from online or the telephone book. The dental labs see examples of many dentists work as they fabricate the fixed prosthetic bridges, partial and complete dentures, orthodontic devices and other lab work.
- Commercial firms recommending health practitioners often have in depth files on practitioners, AND consumers must recommend the potential conflicts of interest as these firms must make an income as they do this.
- Less successful solo reasons for selecting a dentist (your single selection criteria may produce a dental referral that may not take into account the quality of dentistry you seek):
- Geographic location, personality and considering a friend’s dentist.
- Fees (usually low for a reason: often low quality or less complete service)
- Participation in your employer’s dental plan (some can be competent, but also a strong possibility that the dentists participate in the plan for various other reasons)
- Advertising (professionals who advertise are usually no worse or better than their lower-visibility colleagues; and be especially cautious of dentists who advertise with unrealistic claims)
One or more of these questions offered by MouthHealthy.org (website by the ADA, for consumers) may help you start your personal list of questions to ask as you gather information about dental offices via internet, phone and in person:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient for you?
- Is the office easy to get to from your home or job?
- Does the office appear to be clean, neat and orderly?
- Is your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques that will help you prevent dental health problems? Is dental health instruction provided?
- Are special arrangements made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
- Is information provided about fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled?
- Is the dentist a member of the ADA? All ADA member dentists voluntarily agree to abide by the high ethical standards reflected in the member code of conduct.
You and your dentist are partners in maintaining your oral health. Take time to ask questions and take notes if that will help you with your selection process.
It is important to find the dental professional that best matches your needs and desires. If you are new to the Escondido area and are seeking an expert dentist and team, give us a call to schedule an initial exam.