You know that you’re supposed to see a dentist twice a year for an exam and professional teeth cleaning. You probably also know that if you have a history of any dental or oral issues, such as gum disease, that seeing a dentist regularly becomes even more important.
Even with that knowledge, it might have been a while since you last visited a dentist. It could be that you recently moved to a new area or changed insurance coverage and your previous dentist isn’t covered by your new policy. If it’s time to get back into the habit of seeing a dentist, here’s what you can do to find the dental professional who’s right for you.
Type “dentist” and your city or region into Google and you’ll get a lot of results. How can you begin to sift through the pages upon pages of information in front you? Although Google can be handy, there are times when the human perspective is much more useful.
Ask your friends and family members who live near you if they can recommend a dental care provider. When people love their dentists, they’re usually very happy to help someone else get excellent care.
If your friends and family don’t have any recommendations, you aren’t out of luck. If you see another medical professional, such as a primary care doctor, they might be able to recommend someone to you. Your pharmacist might also have recommendations. Online reviews can also give you an idea of a dentist’s reputation, but they aren’t always as reliable as recommendations from people you know.
If you’re moving to a new area and have to say goodbye to your current dental provider, ask them before you leave for a recommendation. Although there’s a chance that your current dentist won’t know anyone in your new location, they might be able to point you in the direction of a former classmate or past colleague.
If you need to see a specialist, such as a periodontist for gum disease treatment, your current dentist might also be able to point in you in the right direction or refer you to a provider who will deliver excellent care.
Once you’ve got a few names, it’s time to get practical. In some cases, one dentist isn’t necessarily better than another. They are just a better fit for you and your needs.
Take a look at when the dentist’s practice is open. Do they offer appointments that work with your schedule? Some practices offer evening hours, early morning hours or weekend openings while others are only open from 9 to 5 on weekdays.
Another logistical concern is how you’ll pay for your dental visit and treatment. Ask about the insurance coverage the dental practices accepts. If you do have to pay for part or all of your treatment out-of-pocket, find out what financing and payment options are available. For example, Dr. John Paul Gallardo has an in-house financing option for patients and also offers programs such as Care Credit.
It’s also worth considering how far the practice is from where you live and work. Is it near your home or an easy drive away? If you have an appointment before or after work, will it be a challenge to drive over to the practice from your office?
Finally, you’ll also want to think about the services offered by the dentist. A periodontist might also offer general dentistry services, such as teeth cleanings and X-rays, for example.
Schedule a Visit
It’s important that you feel comfortable and at ease when you visit the dentist. For that reason, it’s usually a good idea to schedule an initial consultation with a dental provider before you decide whether or not they are going to be the provider for you. Many dentists offer patients a complimentary first visit, to allow both patient and provider to try things out. If you feel comfortable with the dentist, then you can go on to schedule a full visit or continue to make appointments there as needed. If you don’t think the dentist is a match for you, you have the option to keep looking.
Dr. John Paul Gallardo is a periodontal specialist in the Miami area who also provides dental cleanings and exams. To learn more about his practice in Miami, FL, call 305-547-8687 to schedule a consultation today.