If you were to ask 100 people how visiting their family dentist ranks on a list of favorite activities, it is highly unlikely that more than three or four of them will place it high on the list. For many people, a pleasant chat with an IRS auditor is preferable to sitting through a routine teeth cleaning visit. However, if proper time and care is taken in selecting your dental professional, the experience can be made more enjoyable. reference
First, make sure that your family dentist is qualified to practice in your state, and that he has graduated from a reputable school or program. Find out how long he has been practicing dentistry. A new dentist is not a bad thing; however, some people will naturally feel more comfortable knowing their practitioner has several years under his belt.
Also, check for membership in any professional organizations. If he or she has a website, check it out, read the biography, taking note of education and other credentials. If there’s no website available, call the office and explain that you’re looking for someone to help manage your dental health, and you’d like to learn more about this doctor.
Talk with your friends, family members and co-workers to see who they recommend. Ask about the quality of the service they receive. Is the office staff friendly and courteous? Are the dentist’s rates reasonable compared to others practicing in the community? Is it difficult to get an appointment within a reasonable amount of time? Once you get several recommendations, call around to each one and ask if they are taking new patients. This is also a good time to ask any questions regarding insurance, and set up a time to visit the practice.
After you’ve narrowed your list down to a handful of family dentist professionals, pay each one a visit. Some offices will let you just stop by, other require you to make an appointment. Regardless of which way the visit takes place, take note of the office and the staff. Is the office well maintained and kept relatively neat and orderly? Does the staff do anything special to make you feel comfortable and at ease? Check any literature available at the office, to make sure that the office can provide the services you need. This will prevent you having to visit multiple dentists if you need a wide range of services or procedures.
Finally, talk with the dentist herself, if time permits, to get a feel for her personality and demeanor when dealing with patients. You want to choose someone who is positive and professional, yet also understanding and reassuring. This will ensure that each visit is positive from the moment you enter the office. If you have children and they are also apprehensive about having their teeth cleaned, ask if they can visit with you at another time, to talk with the doctor about their fears. Having the opportunity to meet the person who will be taking care of their dental health, they will learn to appreciate the visits, if not positively welcome them.