When moving to a new area, often the top priorities include finding local health care services such as a new dental practice. Finding a new dental practice can be a challenging process, but it is important to choose the right one in order to receive quality dental care. There are a few things that may be worth considering during this search.
Location and opening hours
Location and practice opening hours are critical considerations when looking for a new dental practice. The location of the practice should be convenient and easily accessible, with proximity to the patient’s home or workplace and accessible public transportation. If the patient intends to drive to their dental appointments, checking that there is parking available on site or nearby is also worthwhile. The practice’s opening hours should align with the patient’s schedule, ensuring that they can schedule appointments at a time that works for them.
What kinds of treatments are offered is another important consideration. Dental practices often offer a range of treatments, from hygiene appointments to complex procedures. Often, patients have an idea of what type of care they may require before they attend the dentist. Patients should ensure that the dental practice they choose provides the treatments they require, such as cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, or dental implants.
Emergency dental care
Of course, no-one can predict where or when a dental emergency may happen, but whether a practice offers emergency dental appointments or advice is a reasonable consideration to be made. It could be worth finding out what can be expected at an emergency dental appointment, for example, can local anesthetic be used if a patient is in pain?
It is important to consider whether the practice has experience with the local community, and with a variety of treatments. Often the experience someone has at the dentist, especially if that spans a number of years, can inform their overall opinion of the dental practice. Experienced practitioners can help to give patients peace of mind, enabling trust to be formed. This may be particularly important if the patient would consider themselves to be nervous at the dentists.
If patients are anxious when they attend the dentists, it would be important to consider what kind of adaptations a dental practice is able to make to meet these needs. Does the practice offer the opportunity to listen to music, or watch a television programme whilst in the dental chair? Would staff be willing to show patients around or talk them through what is happening? These questions can help a nervous patient not only to have their needs met, but also to go into the dental practice prepared for what they will find there.
For anyone considering a change in dental practitioner, looking into the care provided for new patients can give an idea of how patients are valued by the dental practice, and what kind of care is given to welcoming someone new. This can inform a patient’s expectations about the level of care they can expect to receive, as well as providing helpful insight into what to expect at that first appointment.
Patients can often find any of the aforementioned information out through the use of the dental practice’s website. Where questions remain, a telephone number is generally provided, and a member of staff should be able to answer queries over the phone.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.