When you have the right dentist, your treatments and regular checkups will be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. More importantly, your dentist will be a great partner in helping you take control of your dental health and encouraging a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

But how do you know if you’ve found “the one”? Consider this list of questions, asking your dental team and yourself to make sure your dentist fits the bill.

Ready to choose a dentist? Schedule an appointment and find out if First Impressions Dentistry is the right dentist for you.

1. Do they meet your dental health style?

Every dentist will have the basic education and training to care for your mouth, teeth, and gums. But some patients require more advanced or specialized dental care.

You may or may not understand what type of dentist you need, but this question is a good place to start, either way. It will give you a baseline of care your dentist should have the ability to provide.

Ask yourself…

  • What type of dental work have I had in the past?
  • What sort of dental health issues do I currently suffer from?
  • Have I ever needed surgical dental care?
  • How do I approach my health? (For example, maybe you prefer a natural medicine approach? Or always look for high-tech treatments?)
  • Is there anything specific I’m trying to achieve?

Considering these questions will give you an idea of what type of dentist you need. For example, you may need a…

  • General dentist
  • Surgical dentist
  • Cosmetic dentist
  • Family dentist
  • Emergency dentist
  • Periodontist
  • …or a combination of these!

Many practices offer services listed in each of these specialties. Here at First Impressions Dentistry, we offer general, preventive, cosmetic, and family care to meet our patients’ needs.

2. Are you looking for a particular treatment or service?

To continue narrowing down what type of dentist you need, dig into the specific treatments you’re looking for. 

Most dentists offer exams, checkups, fillings, and other common procedures. But you may also need specific treatment options based on what you’re hoping to achieve. Are you more concerned with health issues? Or perhaps you’ve always had relatively healthy teeth and now want to improve the appearance of your smile.

Other treatment options you need might include…

  • Dental implants — Dental implants replace missing teeth, maintain your health, and restore your smile. Find out the approach your dentist takes to this procedure.
  • Veneers — Many people who want to improve the look of their smile want veneers. Veneers help straighten, even out, and brighten teeth for a more perfect smile, but not every dentist offers them!
  • Teeth whitening — Maybe you’ve always wanted whiter teeth. Look for a dentist who can offer professional teeth whitening treatment options.
  • Wisdom teeth removal — If your wisdom teeth are causing pain, are difficult to clean properly, or are affecting other teeth, you might need them removed. Make sure your dentist can help you make the right decision. 

If you don’t know what treatments you need, no worries. Focus on the other questions in this article to help pick the right dentist for you.

3. Does the practice have a “philosophy of care”?

Each dentist has their own style and approach. You will connect better with some styles over others. They key is to identify what style you prefer and need to feel most comfortable.  

For example, some dentists are very tech focused, staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in order to provide their patients with the latest and greatest equipment. Others are focused on providing a comfortable and friendly patient environment, and some are all about forging great dentist-patient relationships. Other philosophies of care might include a focus on…

  • Minimally-invasive treatments
  • A conservative approach 
  • Providing a spa-like experience
  • Being family friendly and great for all ages

Think about what approach is most important to you and you’ll be better equipped to identify whether or not you like the style of a particular dental team.

4. What’s the patient experience like?

What do you need to feel most comfortable and confident throughout your appointment? Some things to consider about a dentist are… 

  • Is the office clean and organized?
  • Are the staff welcoming and able to answer all your questions?
  • Does the staff and dentist explain your diagnosis clearly?
  • What sort of patient amenities are offered to insure your comfort?

If you haven’t had a chance to visit a particular dentist yet, a great way to gauge how they treat patients is by reading their reviews.

5. Are you comfortable with their office hours, location, and payment policies?

It’s time to deal with some housekeeping items. These details are small, but will factor into your decision on whether or not a dentist is the best fit for you. 

  • Office location — You don’t need to live next door to your local dentist, but the office location will still likely be important. Consider how easy it is for you to get to the office, whether they offer parking, or if you take public transport, if the office falls along your route.
  • Hours of operation — When is the dentist open? Do these hours work with your own schedule? 
  • Ease of scheduling — How easy is it to schedule an appointment? Does the practice offer online scheduling? Are they booked out for months, or are they flexible to get you in sooner?
  • Payment policies — What are the practice’s payment policies? Do they accept your insurance? Do they offer payment plans or financing options? Knowing these policies ahead of time will limit surprises down the line.

A word of caution — avoid basing your decision entirely on these factors. Whether or not a dentist is located near you or offers dental financing will be a consideration, but it shouldn’t lead your decision. It’s so much more important to choose a dentist who can truly provide you with the best care.

Looking for a new dentist?

Ready to take control of your dental health and find a good dentist meeting YOUR needs? Consider Dr. Cole and his experienced team and whether or not our practice fits your needs. 

First Impressions Dentistry is all about convenient, comfortable, and compassionate care. We know you’re one-of-a-kind and are here to provide one-of-a-kind care to fit your unique needs. Learn more about us