Family dentists and general dentists play an important role in preventive care and helping your family stay healthy. The dentist or dental practice that you settle for will need to suit your family’s requirements and offer good service. It also needs to accept your insurance or be included in the list of dental practitioners in your insurance package.
The American Dental Association recommends at least two visits to a dentist each year. These visits will help identify issues that can easily be easily corrected before they develop into dental emergencies requiring costly procedures.
Services offered by family dentists
Family and general dentists’ primary role is providing preventive care. Routine check-ups may involve teeth cleaning to eliminate plaque buildup, fluoride treatments to help coat the teeth where necessary and help detect of oral health problems much before symptoms appear.
Your family dentist may also take radiographs to help detect cavities and other tooth and jaw problems. If cavities are present, your family dentist can provide treatment with a dental filling and prevent further deterioration. This will to a large degree help you avoid more serious problems that may require a crown, dental implant, root canal, or other costly restorative procedure.
If your family dentist detects issues that may require specialist care, he or she can help you find a specialist to attend to your needs.
Factors to consider before choosing a family dentist
You need to choose a family or general dentist before you or someone in your family has an emergency. That way, you can take your time over the decision.
Here are a few tips on what to look for and what to avoid:
* Location: Find a dental practice close to your place of work or home. This makes it easier to schedule visits.
* Opening hours: Are they open on Saturdays? Do their working hours suit you? Your family dentist should practice hours that are convenient for your family’s work and school schedules.
* Insurance: Insurance is a key factor when choosing a family dentist. If you and your family are covered through your place of work, make sure the dentist you choose is included in the list of dentists in your area who are covered under the insurance package. If your insurance is not through a workplace, make sure that the dentist you choose will accept you insurance.
If your family is not covered for medical or dental insurance, immediately check into the possibility of obtaining free or subsidized public medical insurance, including dental coverage, for your kids under the reauthorized Children’s Health Insurance Program. More than 4.7 million kids who are eligible nationwide are yet to be enrolled.
* Quality of dental work: Price is not the best way to judge quality. Instead, pay attention to the time your dentist takes. High-quality dentistry takes time and careful attention to detail. You may also get an idea of the quality of patient care by how long your dentist will spend with you or your kids on a regular dental check up.
Ambience and kid friendly environment: A friendly and pleasant atmosphere would help ease dental anxiety. How friendly are the staff members?
What you should not consider
There are a few things you should not be swayed by when choosing a family dentist.
* Flamboyant advertising
* Low cost
* Dentists who specialize in cosmetic dentistry, or advertise one-visit comprehensive treatments may not be looking at providing long term care that does not lead to high incomes for their practice.
* Routine use of intravenous sedation is another thing that should raise red flags because it exposes you to unnecessary risk.
* Dentists who engage in or promote unscientific practices.
You can begin your search by asking friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Your family doctor, pharmacist and dental labs in your area too can direct you to a family dentist. You may also ask for recommendations from a local dental society or a dental school if there is one nearby.
Once you have located a prospect, schedule a visit to see whether the place and the dentist are a match for your needs. The dentist may prefer you to initiate the discussion on fees and payment plans since you know your finances and limitations best. There may be fixed fees or rates for certain procedures. Ask about this and what extra fees may be charged and when payments will fall due.
Good news is that you can easily find a dentist in your area through FreeDentistFinder.com. The dentists who are listed on our site would be more than willing to discuss details with you before you even schedule an appointment.