Regular dental checkups are not a substitute for brushing and flossing. These checkups play a crucial role in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.
By following these simple steps, you may discover that you actually enjoy visiting the dentist. The key to building a positive patient-dentist relationship is finding a dentist you can trust.
How to Choose a Dentist in Los Angeles
Here are some ways to find a dentist if you’ve moved and need a new one, or don’t currently have one.
1. Ask for Dentist Recommendations
You can seek recommendations from your family, friends, or colleagues. Often, one of your friends, family members, or coworkers can suggest a good dentist. Another option is to ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider, as members of the medical profession are often familiar with each other.
If you’re moving, inquire with your current dentist for advice; they might be able to recommend a dentist or dental specialist, such as orthodontists or periodontists, in the area or town where you’re relocating.
2. Basics of Coverage
After receiving a few referrals, it’s a good idea to visit or call more than one dentist. Your relationship with your new dentist is crucial, so ensure compatibility.
When at the dentist’s office, consider asking the following questions:
- Does your dental plan include them?
- Are their office hours convenient for you?
- Is there a local office near your home or work?
- What is their approach to preventive dentistry?
- What are their policies for handling emergencies after hours? Many have arrangements with a friend or emergency referral service.
- What are the typical costs of common procedures?
- Does the company have a policy for missed appointments?
3. Request the Dentist’s Credentials
Before making a decision, it’s crucial to look into your dentist’s medical background. Research their experience, education, and ongoing training involvement. Verify if the dentist is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), as ADA members adhere to high standards of ethical care. Finally, ensure there’s no past history of malpractice.
4. Learn About Dental Insurance and Its Costs
Make sure you know your dental plan well to understand what it covers, what it doesn’t, and which dentists are in the network. Sticking to in-network dentists can help you save money.
Ask your dentist about costs. Inquire about the price of procedures like a full-mouth radiograph, an exam, a dental cleaning, and filling a tooth cavity to get a clear picture of potential expenses.
5. Research Online Reviews
Explore online reviews for dental practices. Seek out highly-rated dentists on a trusted review site. Pay close attention to negative ratings to understand the specific issues.
6. Visit the Dentist’s Office
To gather information about a dental office, plan a visit. Call in advance to set up a consultation or a tour.
When you visit the dentist, take note of the following:
- Is the office tidy, clean, and well-organized?
- Is their equipment clean and up-to-date?
- Did the dental staff answer your questions in a friendly and polite manner?
- Do the dental staff and dentist wear protective gloves?
How to NOT Choose a Dentist
Selecting a healthcare provider can be time-consuming. Consider the potential time and tooth loss if you choose a provider with less expertise or one who only addresses surface issues.
Over the years, I’ve noticed people’s methods for choosing a dentist. While these approaches may seem quicker, they can lead to serious consequences in terms of getting the necessary treatment.
1. List of Your Insurance Company
Picking a dentist from a long list may seem like the easiest way to maximize your insurance benefits and save money. However, it’s not always the best option. Unfortunately, the insurance company may not have your best interests in mind, and the work isn’t always checked for quality. So, don’t view the names on this list as a “recommendation”—it’s just a list of offices that agreed to the terms and pricing set by the insurance company.
2. Price Tag
In the end, opting for cheaper dental care may not be as cost-effective. Getting a good dental job done right the first time can save you money, time, and even pain—whether physical or emotional. In my 25 years working in the industry, I’ve witnessed both beautiful and subpar dentistry at various price points.
The least expensive dentistry might not cover all your needs. For instance, a significant cavity might eventually require a root canal or, in more severe cases, a tooth extraction and implant. Investing in a well-fitting crown might cost more initially, but it can save you thousands in the long run.
3. When Someone Says Their Dentist Is “Nice”
The quality of your care may not always be linked to how nice the dentist is. I’ve worked with many pleasant dentists I wouldn’t let work on my own teeth. When choosing a dentist, ask to see their work. You can check before-and-after pictures, recent x-rays, and crowns they’ve done. What do you think of their dentistry? Does it look natural or like chiclets?
When examining an x-ray, there shouldn’t be dark spots or ledges around crowns. Ask the doctor to explain exactly what you’re seeing and why they’re skilled at their job.
4. The Office Is Just around the Corner
Choosing a dentist solely based on location may not be the best decision, even in today’s busy world. On my way to work, I often ponder this as I pass by numerous dental practices, wondering if working there would be convenient. However, it’s worth driving extra miles to a dental office that prioritizes providing the best care.
You’ll be on the path to good oral health if you find a dentist who listens to you, understands your health goals, and assesses both your current and future needs. Good oral health is also linked to overall well-being and longevity. Choose wisely; it could make a difference between life and death.
Dental Health Is Important
You owe it to yourself, just as you would with any other healthcare provider, to spend some time getting to know your dentist. Choosing one may seem simple, but remember that dental services are highly personal, and you’ll want to maintain this relationship for many years.
Looking for a Trusted Family Dentist in Los Angeles?
Consider Elite Dental and Orthodontics. Dr. Danesh of Elite Dental is dedicated to delivering the highest standard of care with a genuine passion for dentistry.
A proud member of esteemed organizations like the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, Armenian Dental Association of California, and the Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity, Dr. Danesh embodies excellence in every aspect of our practice. Choose Elite Dental and Orthodontics for a dental experience that prioritizes your family’s oral health.
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