A family dentist centralizes everyone’s dental care at one office. One dentist for the entire family often gives you a chance to build a more personal relationship. Picking a random dentist from the yellow pages is an option, but you’re taking a gamble. A more analytical approach to selecting a dentist increases the chances of finding a provider who works well for your family. The dentist’s personality, philosophy and location are just a few considerations.
Make a list of characteristics or factors that are key in choosing a dentist for your family. Consider specialty areas, location, hours, range of treatments, handling of emergencies, billing, professional achievements, education and amount of time you have to wait for an appointment. Use this list to assess each potential dentist.
Call your dental insurance carrier to request a list of covered providers. Sticking with the preferred providers means your out-of-pocket expenses will be lower, as most insurance companies require you to pay higher deductibles and copays for out-of-network providers.
Look for dental offices near your home, work or frequent routes. The close proximity makes it more convenient when you need dental care, either regularly scheduled appointments or emergency care.
Ask friends and family in the area for recommendations. Ask them what they like and dislike about their family dentists.
Request referrals from your doctor or other health care professionals. Your family doctor will likely know some dentists in the area.
Write a list of the potential family dentists from all of the referral sources. Eliminate any that are too far from your home or otherwise aren’t a match.
Contact the dentists remaining on the list to find more information to determine if they are a match. Ask specific questions related to the list you wrote initially that outlines your preferences for a family dentist. Narrow down the list to the best matches.
Visit the dentists you are considering. Take your entire family if possible to see how the dentist and staff interacts with both you and your kids.