Whether you are new to an area, or whether you have just neglected to find a dentist for any other reason, it is important that you take the time to find the right dentist for your needs. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you to find a dentist for yourself and your family.
Type of dentist
There are a few different types of dentist in the United Kingdom, so you may need to think about your needs before you decide which dentists you should get in contact with. In some places in the UK, National Health Service (NHS) dentists are still able to offer heavily subsidised dental treatment, with some treatments being completely free. These dentists do not normally offer treatments which are for purely cosmetic reasons.
Some dentists offer a mixture of private treatments and NHS services, with NHS services only available to a limited group of people. Dentists who offer private treatments may offer a wider range of services. With a private dentist, you will normally be offered the choice to either pay for your treatments on a use-by-use basis, or to join an insurance / payment plan scheme which allows you to spread out the cost of your treatment.
Lastly, you may want to consider visiting a cosmetic dentist. These practices specialise in treatments which are not medically essential, but which still hold value for patients, such as dental implants and teeth whitening.
Depending on what type of dentist you chose to use, you need to carefully consider the location of the dental practice. If you are hoping to sign up with a local NHS dentist, you may find that many of these practices will only take new patients from within a limited catchment area. Most private dentists are willing to take patients from outside of the area, unless they are already oversubscribed.
Many people would prefer to choose a dentist that is closer to their place of work or their children’s school, because it means that it is less time consuming to go to a short appointment and then get back to work or school.
For many people, cost is one of the most important things. As mentioned before, NHS dentists provide heavily subsidized services, however these dentists are often oversubscribed and you may not be able to sign up with one. Private dentists can vary hugely in cost. It is worth remembering that the most expensive dentist is not necessarily the best dentist. You may be able to get a better service at a lower cost if you shop around.
If you are worried about ongoing costs, ask local dentists if they offer treatment with a payment plan scheme. This helps to spread your costs more evenly throughout the year.
Meeting a dentist for the first time can help you to decide whether you would like them to be your dentist on a permanent basis. Your dentist’s professional manner can have a huge impact on how comfortable you are having your teeth looked at.
Some dentists have a ‘no nonsense’ approach, and get to the point quickly. A lot of people like this style because it helps them to clearly understand the state of their oral hygiene, and to understand exactly what needs to be done to keep their mouth healthy. Other people prefer to visit a dentist who is warmer and seems friendlier, as this helps to put them at ease, especially if they are nervous. This all comes down to personal preference and it is something that you will probably only get a feel for once you have actually met the dentist.
Word of mouth is a great way to find a good dentist. Ask any friends or family who their dentist is and would they recommend them or not. Generally if somebody has a dentist that they can only say positive things about, that dentist could be the one for you.
Use the internet, if possible. Performing a quick search on your preferred search engine for phrases such as “dentist reviews” or “nameofdentist reviews” could help a long way in choosing the right dentist. Many directory type websites feature reviews on various businesses / services including dentists, and these websites can provide valuable and helpful feedback directly from dentists patients. Hopefully you will find only positive feedback but you might also come across negative feedback that can be just as helpful such as whether a particular dentist may have had a claim for dental negligence made against them.
If you use social networking websites such as Facebook or Twitter then these can also provide you with valuable feedback.
One thing to bear in mind is that reviews shouldn’t always be taken as 100% fact. Just because one person might have had a negative experience then it shouldn’t automatically rule that dentist out completely.