The search for a general dentist
Most patients visit the dentist at least twice a year for dental exams and cleanings. Establishing a solid patient-dentist partnership is the key to better dental care and solving dental problems before they become more advanced.
Start with a broad search
The first step toward choosing the right dentist is to decide which factors are the most important and eliminate any practices that fall outside of those criteria. Examples of important factors could include convenient office hours, proximity to the home or office, compatibility with a specific insurance company, or accommodations for a specific disability. Each patient must decide which factors are most important in the decision-making process.
Narrow down the choices
Many areas have a large number of general dentists from which to choose, so using additional criteria narrows down the choices. Many patients find a general dentist using a word-of-mouth referral from relatives or friends. Local dental societies often have lists of dentists, including specializations. Searching on review sites can also help facilitate the decision-making process. Social media resources can provide valuable information about a dental practice, including website links, reviews, and descriptions of the office culture.
Make a connection
After the choices have been narrowed down to a few, asking more detailed questions of each finalist helps to make the final decision. Examples of question topics include policies on safety, comfort, cancellations, emergencies, and technology. Visiting the office also provides a peek into the atmosphere of the practice. Finalizing the choice of a general dentist is similar to interviewing a person for a job. The selection depends on practicality, connection, and instinct.
Finalize the choice
After making a final decision, the final step is scheduling an appointment with the new practitioner. Although many steps went into the selection process, if the visit does not go as expected a patient can typically change practices at any time. If the search process was thorough, starting over from the beginning is not necessary. Starting with the list of finalists, the individual can then try a new practice. After finding the right fit, patients should focus on developing and maintaining relationships with the dentist and staff to stay on top of any dental health concerns.
Consistent care is important for maintaining oral health, so it is important for patients to be thorough and methodical when selecting a new dental provider. By starting with a broad search and narrowing down the choices to a few finalists to visit, patients can find the general dentist who is right for their specific needs.
Request an appointment or call Raymond G Hatland DDS at 773-733-5880 for an appointment in our Lincolnwood office.
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