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Be honest with yourself. Isn’t it way past time you made an appointment to see the dentist? Dental care is a very important part of your self-care regimen, not to mention your appearance. If you’ve begun to notice pain and discomfort in your teeth or gums, bleeding when you brush your teeth, or you’re starting to feel self conscious about your smile because you need restorative work, these are all signs that you should see a dentist as soon as possible. Even if your teeth look and feel perfectly fine, it’s still important to see a dentist at least once every 6 months to ensure that your teeth and gums are in good shape and free of damaging and unsightly tartar.

However, if you haven’t been to the dentist in a long while, you’ve recently moved or the dentist you used to go to has moved or retired the process of finding a new one can be tricky. We appreciate that you need to feel that you can trust your dentist before you let them anywhere near your mouth. With this in mind, we’ve compiled an ultimate guide to how to find the best dentist in your area.

Searching online

Google is an invaluable tool for finding a dentist (or any other kind of local business) within easy reach of your home. Simply type “dentist near me” or “dentist” and the name of your town and city into the search engine and it will suggest a number of local dentists close by. So many, in fact, that you may struggle to identify which is best suited to your needs. The good news is that you can do a significant amount of research before you’ve even left Google.

Google My Business

Your nearby dentists, like most local small businesses, will have setup a Google My Business page which will contain important information like NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) data, opening hours (so you can arrange an appointment time to suit your work and lifestyle), a link to their website (more on that later) and ratings and reviews left by their patients.

This last part is perhaps the most important. After all, every dentist’s website is full of glowing appraisals of themselves. But until you’ve read what their patients have to say, you’ll want to take all of their superlatives with a grain of salt.

Take a look at the dentist’s star rating on Google. These are aggregated from all the different reviews and ratings left by users. There’s absolutely no reason why you should entrust your teeth to a dentist with a rating lower than 4.5 stars. It’s also worth scanning through their reviews to see if anyone has left reviews with needs similar to your own.

Use other rating websites

If you’re feeling extra diligent, you might want to try searching for your prospective dentist on other trusted websites like Yelp or Trustpilot. Again, take a look at their aggregate star rating and make sure that it’s more than 4.5. And if they have reviews from patients with similar needs to yours or your family’s so much the better!

Their website: Know what to look for

Your next step should be to take a look at your prospective new dentist’s website. This should give you a feel for the dentist’s practice and what they can offer you. This is how you determine whether their facilities and capabilities are aligned with your needs. In particular, take a look at.

Services offered

Most dentists offer a pretty comprehensive range of services to all kinds of patients. Their website should explain exactly which services they offer. However, if you don’t see the service your looking for on their website, there’s no harm in dropping them an email to see if they do offer it. Most dentists’ websites detail services offered such as;

Prices and dental plans

If you don’t have dental benefits, dental bills can quickly mount up. Take a look to see if the dentist offers their own affordable plan. This will allow you to spread the cost of treatment, inspections etc.

If you’re interested in a particular procedure (such as whitening, crowns, veneers etc.) do they display their prices in clear terms with no sneaky extras.

Accessibility

If you have a disability that limits your mobility you’ll also want to check what accessibility provisions they offer so that you can make it to the reception desk in time for your appointment without any unexpected hurdles.

Getting to know your new dentist

Now you’ve gotten to know your prospective new dentist a little online and you’re starting to feel pretty good about them. But that doesn’t mean you should make your first appointment yet. Feel free to get in touch with them to arrange to inspect their practice and talk to the dentist about your needs.

Most dentists will be more than happy to take the time to do this. And if they aren’t willing to make time for you, this is probably a sign that your needs would be better met elsewhere.

Questions about treatment

If you have a particular treatment in mind, it might be worth writing down any questions you have for your dentist before you meet them. When we’re nervous or in a new scenario, it’s easy to forget questions we store in our heads, so be sure to get them written down just to be safe.

Explaining fears, anxieties and phobias.

A good dentist understands that many patients have fears, anxieties and phobias when it comes to dentists and dental practices. They will recognize that simply picking up the phone to make an enquiry can be a big deal for some.

As such, they will take the time to listen to your fears, concerns and anxieties. They will answer any questions you ask and help you to get better acquainted to the practice through a period of controlled exposure, whereby you become familiar with the dentist and the practice before committing to examination or treatment.

With a little patience and knowhow, you can look forward to years of peace of mind and a healthy, happy smile… all because you took the time to find the best dentist!

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