Last updated on September 9th, 2015 at 10:00 am

One of the most important steps in taking good care of your teeth is seeing the dentist regularly for cleanings. Many people worry about a visit to the dentist, but when you choose a qualified and skilled dentist, you won’t have to dread your appointment. Here are a few tips to finding a good dentist.

Chair and equipment at dentist

Comfort

Before you schedule your routine appointment, call the office and ask if the dentist offers meet and greet appointments. These types of appointments don’t involve any dental care but allow you to meet potential dentists and make sure you feel comfortable with him or her. You should consider whether you would feel comfortable asking for pain medication during a procedure or discussing options.

Qualifications

A good dentist should have a dentistry degree, a medical license to practice in the state, and a license to prescribe medications. You can use an online state licensing board website to make sure that your potential dentist has a current license. You may also want to discuss infection control policies and make sure that all staff members wear gloves and use proper hygiene when treating patients.

Emergency Care

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Image via Flickr by The National Guard

When you have a toothache that just won’t go away, you will want to have the option to call your dentist for help. Make sure that someone in the office is available to take emergency calls and provide some level of care to you even if something arises in the evening or on the weekend.

Payment and Insurance

If you have dental insurance, you will probably want to contact the company to make sure your potential new dentist accepts your policy. Some dentists also charge higher rates than others, so shop around and find out prices before undergoing a procedure. If you don’t have insurance or have a more extensive procedure that may cost more than you anticipate, you should talk to the dental staff about payment plan options or other alternatives to having to pay up front for the out of pocket costs. You can also check out dental insurance alternatives to save money on care.

Location

You should consider a dentist that is close to home or your work location, since that will help save time when you have appointments. When you call the office, ask about the office hours as well since you may want to schedule appointments on your days off or before or after work to minimize lost work time. Some dentists don’t work on certain days or have shorter hours some days of the week.

Talk to Others

When it comes to your dental care, word of mouth and referrals can be very useful. You can talk to friends or family members about who they see and ask for specifics about what they like and dislike about their dentists. This will help you get an idea of what to expect when you schedule your meet and greet appointment.

A good dentist will provide years of excellent oral care, so be sure that you have one who you like and feel comfortable with in a variety of different circumstances.

Author

Hey there, I’m Tiffany! I’m a work-at-home mom of two rambunctious children (Jasmine, 9 + Sean II, 5) and recently widowed at just 35 years old. I've remarried and currently live right outside of Baton Rouge in Denham Springs, Louisiana with two adoring cats and a dog. Let's connect on Twitter @fabulousmomblog.

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