Establishing a relationship with the people at a family dentistry practice is an important task, especially if you have a child. A number of factors go into picking one, and it's worth taking a close look at these five.
Working appointments into your schedule can be a challenge, and it's common for a family dentist to keep somewhat unusual hours. Many are only open four days a week, and they may choose to not have similar hours for each day. Emergency availability is also variable. Study their availability and decide how far out of your way you intend to go to get care.
The dental field is one where advancements are made regularly, and a family dentist who keeps up with new skills can be a major difference-maker. For example, familiarity with the modern version of the caries control procedure may mean the difference between getting a medicate filling or a root canal. Don't hesitate to ask a dentist you're thinking about dealing with about their educational background and how they keep up with developments within their trade.
Talk with the Staff
You're going to deal with a dental office's staff a lot. Dentistry is like everything in medicine, and that means paperwork, billing, scheduling and insurance issues. If a staff member rubs you the wrong way now, you're going to hate them after you've had a tooth worked on.
Meet the Hygienist
Whether you have no dental issues or major ones, your long-term goal is to get to the point where maintenance of your oral health is all that's necessary. That's the job of the hygienist. They'll be responsible for performing cleanings, and they'll also be the first person to identify problems like gum disease.
In a single-doctor practice, the hygienist is often the only person who's qualified to provide a second opinion, too. That's important because big decisions, such as whether to pull a tooth, deserve more than one professional's perspective. Pay attention to how the dentist and the hygienist work as a team, noting how well or poorly the doctor takes input.
Particularly when you have a kid, it's nice to know certain services are available. Many families want to know that sedation is available, and even adults with anxiety issues may want to work with a dentist who provides sedation options. Clearly state your concerns during your initial consultation and ask about services that correspond with them.