Choosing a new family dentist takes more than simply picking one that is conveniently close by to where you live. It is important that you choose the right one that fits in well with your family needs as well as your own. Your family dentist is more than someone who inspects your teeth twice per year – they play a much more important role than that to the long-term health of you and your family.
A good dentist is trained to spot any early problems such as gum disease, abscesses or oral cancers. But a good family dentist is also very aware of the different needs of your whole family, including your youngest children. Good oral healthcare is best started young, and this is why it is so important to find a good family dentist that is sensitive to the needs, fears and anxieties of experiencing new things found in children.
Your dentist should become your friend. Your whole family should see your dentist as part of your extended team who is there to support you and look after the health of your teeth and gums. You should think of them as being your healthcare partner and someone who wants to provide the best possible dental and oral health for you and your family.
Lets take a look at some top tips for finding a good family dentist.
Check the dentist’s qualifications and experience
Many dentists will specialise in certain areas of dentistry, so it is always good to know what else a new dentist could provide should you need any specialist treatment. Some dental surgeries specialise in paediatric dental care for example. This could be good if you have very young children. Some dentists are happy to treat children from primary school age, so if you know that your children may need to wear braces because you did as a child, this would be a good dentist to register with.
It is always good to phone up and talk to a dental receptionist about what services are on offer. You may be looking for a family dentist that has plenty of experience in treating children and teenagers as well as adults. You may have an elderly relative that you want to include in your family check-ups. Check whether they are used to dealing with seniors who may have to care for partial dentures or bridge work.
A good all-round family dentist will be one that can offer regular examinations, cleaning, cavity filling and other routine dental services across all ages. Check that the dentist is able to accommodate group family bookings at the same time. This can be a great time saver for a busy family who need to book appointments together.
Do they deal with dental phobias?
Being scared of the dentist is a very common condition for many people, both adults and children. In most families, there will usually be at least one member who may be anxious or frightened about going to the dentist. It is wise to check with the surgery to see if they do anything special for family members with fears. Some dentists offer longer appointments to allow nervous patients to talk and ask more questions. Some surgeries have special rooms decorated out to look like a living room with a TV or radio playing. This can make the treatment rooms look and feel less clinical to help nervous patients relax more.
What are the reception staff like?
Your first impression of a dental practice is formed as soon as you step in the door. Even before you have had a chance to meet your dentist, who may be very nice indeed, your first opinions of the place will be made on how your are greeted and treated by the reception staff.
There is a big difference between being greeted by someone that is pleasant, cheery and helpful rather than someone who is short-tempered and grumpy, especially when you have young children accompanying you. A pleasant and friendly greeting will go a long way to put your children at ease and prevent them from becoming fearful of going to the dentist in the future.