“The best” is a fluid term, even if it doesn’t sound that way, and is also rather incomplete. Rather than looking for “the best” of some category, you should be thinking of what is the best for you. This is especially the case when you start talking about medical professionals, with dentists following under that banner. It’s well proven at this point that oral health on the whole is both related to and an indicator of other health issues in the body, meaning that a dentist does a lot more than make for bright smiles. This means you shouldn’t settle, but in order to be in the best position, you need to determine what exactly the best for you is, and this means going beyond the bare minimum.
Knowing The Basics
Let’s take a moment to dispel a few myths. Finding a dentist is not hard, at least, as not as hard as it used to be. We live in a time where you can access individual dentist websites as well as use databases like those of the American Dental Association to narrow down options in your immediate area. Review platforms like Angie’s List and Yelp make it easy to get opinions from a variety of spectrums (though you may need to filter through a bit of bias before finding an opinion to listen to). The difficulty isn’t in finding a dentist, but finding one that is a match. Yes, you want someone who’s skilled at their craft, but that’s one part of a larger relationship.
For example, the largest thing keeping people away from the dentist in the U.S. is not fear, but price. As a result, you need to make sure before starting your search to have a good grip on what your finances are as well as what insurance you have. Choosing a good dentist does you little good if you can’t afford them, sadly.
In addition, certain dentists service different types of needs. Are you looking for someone who can take care of both you and your young ones? Try and see if a mixed practice is a possible match for you. Are you going to need special orthodontic services like braces or certain procedures? Look ahead to see if your potential dentist can take care of you to avoid the headache of doing a search twice.
Along with this is something a bit more esoteric: what type of style do you like from your medical practitioners? For example, some people prefer just getting in and getting out, with minimal time lost. In this case, a larger practice with the resources to take care of you quickly will be a better choice. On the other hand, some people want to feel like part of a family, with a dentist who knows them personally as well as a patient. A smaller practice will likely be a better fit.
Keeping Everything Else In Mind
Finding a dentist that is appropriately qualified and has a personality/manner that you like is a good start, but generally, this is the tip of the iceberg. Finding someone that fits your lifestyle as well is equally important. For example, a dental office open on Saturday may not seem like something important at first, but depending on your work schedule and distance, it may be nearly impossible to get an appointment without taking time off. In this case, weekend hours may be a huge difference-maker.
In addition, your other medical history may play a role in whether or not a dentist is a good match for you. Did you ever wonder why a dentist asks for your full medical history whenever you start seeing them, as well as updates year-by-year? Sure, part of this is due to the fact that you don’t want different treatments or medications interacting with each other. But another important aspect is the fact that oral health has been proven to be related to more and more conditions in the rest of the body. It may be worth it to alert your dentist so they can keep their eyes open for any relevant aspects to the rest of your condition.
Figuring out what the best for you is in any facet of life can be difficult, especially if you choose to extend this to your family. While it may take some self-reflection to figure out what exactly your true needs are when it comes to oral health, it’s time and energy well spent. By making this move, you are making an investment in your overall health, and for many, there’s no cost too high for that.