Clean Teeth, Happy Family: How to Find the Best Family Dentist
Your family needs clean, healthy teeth—but no one likes going to the dentist.
Finding the right family dentist can be challenging. You need someone who understands how to treat teeth from the young to the old.
You might not look forward to taking your kids to the dentist, but it’s critical to take good care of your youngster’s teeth. In kids aged 6–19 years, dental cavities (tooth decay) is the most common chronic disease. This can lead to infection and pain.
An excellent dentist makes it more enjoyable to schedule visits. How do you find the best family dentist? Here’s your guide.
Check Your Insurance
Start with dentists in your network. You can ask friends for referrals (and you should!). However, if your insurance doesn’t cover a highly-recommended dentist, you’ll find teeth cleanings, and other dental work gets expensive.
Most dental insurance plans don’t function in the same way as your health insurance. Many dentists have more flexibility in how they work with dental insurance providers.
If your current dentist is no longer in your network, or you find a dentist that seems perfect but isn’t in your network, talk with them. They might offer payment plans or comparable rates to being an in-network dentist.
But, if it’s not an option to stay with your first choice of dentist, as them for recommendations. Dentists understand that treatments are expensive, or that different dentists can help with different needs. They’re often connected enough to know another great dentist that works for your insurance or budget.
Ask Your Friends
You can do this before you check your insurance (see above). However, it’s often more budget-friendly to find your top choices from within your dental insurance network first.
Once you have a few options, ask your friends if they know those dentists, how they work, and if they’re suitable for the whole family.
Friends and family understand the importance of a dentist who handles both kids and adults well. Your circle of friends will give honest input about a dentist and what they like or don’t like about a dentist on your list.
Check the Location
A top-rated dentist can be tough to find. An excellent dentist that’s close to your kid’s school, your home, or your work is even more challenging to find.
With at least two visits to the dentist per year for each member of your family, make sure your dentist is convenient. You’ll take kids out of school and take time away from work to care for your family’s teeth.
Unless you have unique circumstances or truly prefer one specific dentist across town, don’t compile a list of recommended dentists that are too far away. For instance, if you’re in the Toledo area, find a dentist in the area.
Going to the dentist can feel like an inconvenience. Don’t make it a bigger hassle by choosing a dentist that is outside of your day-to-day area.
Visit the Office
When you’ve done your research to narrow your dentist search, visit the office.
- Is it comfortable?
- Is it kid-friendly?
- Is it in a reputable location?
- Is it clean?
- Is the staff friendly and competent?
Ask about their treatment procedures. How do they treat pain when filling cavities? What products do they use for teeth cleanings? Make sure you’re comfortable with how they handle your mouth and your family’s mouths.
Talk with the dentists and the staff. Most adults can adapt to a new dental hygienist and procedures easier than children. Make sure the staff and the office environment works well for your children. You don’t want your kids to dread going to the dentist twice a year.
There are good dentists with training and experience. Then there are “budget” dentists who probably cost less but who might not be the best choice to handle your family’s dental needs.
The American Dental Association (ADA) is one of the most well-known associations to help you find a reputable dentist. But not all excellent dentists register with the ADA.
It’s not necessary to restrict your dentist search to only ADA-registered dentists. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, and the Academy of General Dentistry are a few other reputable organizations that support quality dentists.
No matter your potential dentist’s organization affiliation, be sure they are fully qualified Doctors of Dentistry. Without that licensing, a dentist lacks the experience and knowledge to care for your teeth.
Sometimes tooth emergencies happen on the weekend. When that happens, you don’t want to wait until Monday for relief from pain.
What is your dentist’s after-hours policy? They don’t have to offer after-hours, emergency help in their office. But it’s critical that they can connect you to a local partner dentist who can help your family with an oral issue after office hours.
Finding the Best Family Dentist Improves Smiles!
Turn your family’s frowns upside down. Finding the best family dentist for your family helps improve their smiles—in more ways than one!
Most dental practices have come a long way from a cold, intimidating environment. Many dentist offices have screens for kids (and adults) to watch movies while the hygienist works on your teeth.
Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be something your family hates to do! Find the right environment for your family and a payment plan or in-network dentist that helps your budget.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out some of our other articles to help your family stay healthy!