When looking for a dentist in Knoxville there are several characteristics that will identify someone who delivers quality dental care. Does a dentist need to have granite counters and mahogany accents? Does a good dentist need a beverage station and hot paraffin hand wax? If the office runs down does that mean you would find better dentistry at the other office down the street? The answer to all of this is yes, but not for the obvious reasons.
There is no single characteristic that identifies a good dentist. There is no single box to check to let you know that you’ve found the general dentist for your family. A good general dentist is someone who makes you comfortable who and you believe provides quality dental care to your family. If you are new to Knoxville and looking for a dentist, or moving away and will be looking somewhere else, you should think about what you want in your next (or fist) dentist.
Here are a few things to think about when looking for a new dentist:
- References are good
If you want to know the kind of dental care a perspective dentist delivers, ask the patients! Do online research and review dental reviews on google. Don’t be turned of by one bad review either. Obviously a 5 star dental review is great but a 4 star will most likely provide quality dentistry. Get on Facebook and search for a dentist. Ask your Facebook friends in Knoxville for the family dentist or cosmetic dentist they use. Check with a mom’s group for the dentist who does their pediatric dentistry.
- Check their website
Once you have a few leads, check the website for each dentist. Websites are an extension of the dental office, they offer a glimpse inside before physically stepping inside the door. An outdated website may mean an outdated office. Most websites will have a biography of the dentist, maybe even a picture. What is your first impression? Does the dentist seem like someone you want to do your family dentistry for years to come. Review the services the office offers. Does the dentist do veneers and cosmetic dentistry? Hopefully the dentist will be able to complete most of your work in the office, without referring you to a specialist. See if the dentist offers implant dentistry as an offered service. If you are looking for a family dentist then check and make sure your dentist does pediatric dentistry. Some dentists will see kids and do pediatric dentistry but others will refer to a pediatric specialist.
- Come prepared and ask the right questions
Make sure you bring any health history information that may be beneficial. This may include medications you take, history of surgeries or documented allergies. Having this information on hand makes the patient orientation much easier. Don’t be afraid to ask some questions to make sure the dentist is the right fit for you and your family. A few good questions to ask: Are you available for after-hours care? What services are performed by this dentist and what is referred out? What kind of continuing education do dentists have to do? This last question is a very good one. Dentists must complete many hours of continuing education each year. Courses are available online, at Knoxville dental meetings, regional meetings and at world renowned dental training facilities. Do you want a dentist who stays current in the latest dental trends by answering questions from the back of a magazine or by attending a premier dental conference and listening to the top speakers in dentistry?
- Check out the office during your first appointment
During your first appointment, take note of the office space. Is it clean and tidy? Is the staff friendly and accommodating? These are clear signs of a dental office that cares enough about patients to make them comfortable. Low quality decor, worn chairs and a lack of technology could mean that the dentist is not interested in providing high quality dental care.
- Make sure the dental team explains your treatment plan
Make sure that you and your dentist are on the same page about your dental plan of care. Feel comfortable with all options and deciding which is best for you. Make sure the office is clear when charges and payments will be made, what fees apply to you and how you can get the most value for your money. Some dental offices may act like dental insurance will pay for all of your treatment. “Insurance” is actually a poor name for your dental coverage. A description is “coupon”. Even at a routine cleaning most patients will pay a small amount out of pocket. For dental care such as implants, cosmetics, crowns and fillings most dental “insurance” should not be expected to cover the full cost of treatment.
Knoxville has many great dentists and a little research will go a long way to make sure you find a dentist that you are comfortable with. Remember, gather all of the information you need before committing to your dental appointment, and consider having a backup in mind. If you’re pleased with your dentist, you are more likely to keep appointments and remember your 6 month cleanings – which will make your mouth happier and healthier!