You and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners; therefore, you should find someone you can be comfortable with. To find a suitable dentist to meet your needs, consider asking the following questions as a starting point:
· What are the office hours? Are they convenient for your schedule?
· Is the office easy to get to from work or home?
· Where was the dentist educated and trained?
· What's the dentist's approach to preventive dentistry?
· How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
· What type of anesthesia is the dentist certified to administer to help you relax and feel more comfortable during any necessary dental treatment?
· What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
· Is information provided about all fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled? If you are comparison shopping, ask for estimates on some common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, an oral exam and cleaning, and filling a cavity.
· Does the dentist participate in your dental health plan?
· What is the dentist's office policy on missed appointments?
If visiting a dentist's office:
· Does the office appear to be clean, neat, and orderly? Do all surfaces and equipment in the treatment room appear clean?
· Is the dental staff helpful and willing to answer your questions?
· Do you observe the dentist and staff wearing gloves and other protective gear during actual patient treatment?