Are you looking for a new dentist? Have you recently relocated? Or would you like to have more complex treatments? Are you considering leaving your current practice? Or perhaps you simply haven’t been to a dentist for a while. Whatever your reason, here are five important considerations to help you choose a good dentist.
Before you register, it’s worth taking a little time to do some research, and ask the right questions. After all, you want to choose a dental practice you can trust to care for the whole family’s dental health over many years to come.
1. Convenient location
The practice you choose must be one that you can attend regularly. It’s worth thinking about how far you’re prepared to travel from either work or home. Also consider the time when you’re most likely to want to make appointments. Will it be with the children on Saturday mornings? After work in the evenings? Or on your afternoon off?
Thinking about time and place is a good way to limit your search so that you’re investigating practices that are a practical option for you. After all, choosing a dental practice which is easy and convenient for you will make attending regular check-ups easier and help you arrive on time. Once you’ve narrowed down an area, then check websites for opening times, public transport links, convenient car parking and accessibility.
Remember, too, that there may be a time when you need to access urgent dental care out of regular opening hours. It’s worth checking what arrangements are in place for urgent treatment or emergency appointments.
2. Paying for treatment
Once you’ve made the decision to go private, you’ll want to consider different ways of paying for your treatment. Most practices these days offer a range of methods that can be tailored to meet a patient’s specific needs:
- ‘pay as you go’;
- payment plans that spread the cost of care into monthly payments across the year; and
- finance plans, to help with more costly treatments.
If you can’t find the information you need on-line, it’s worth calling the practices you’re interested in joining and asking more. Good dentists will always be transparent about fees, and provide a treatment plan that includes costing so there are no surprises.
Although many patients are looking for a good general dentist, some are also interested in specific treatments. Perhaps you are having trouble with sore gums? You’re considering dental implants? Or you’d like a brighter smile and straighter teeth? Most dental practices these days offer a wide range of treatments including cosmetic dental procedures and facial aesthetics. A good dentist will prioritise your oral health and suggest a treatment plan to help you achieve or maintain a healthy mouth.
These days dental practices share clear information, news and tips on their websites – all good signs that your dental practice is keen to attract and keep new patients.
Another point to consider when choosing a dental practice is emergency dental treatment. Dental emergencies do happen, so it’s important to understand the emergency dental services offered by your dental practice, whether it’s during normal practice hours, evenings or weekends.
4. The dental practice and the dental team
Visits to your dental practice will be more pleasant if you’re welcomed by helpful, friendly staff. Local dental practices are not usually in purpose built buildings, but they should always be clean, tidy and well-organised. Your dentist should always be professional, approachable and sympathetic. Moreover, you should feel comfortable asking questions about all aspects of your care and treatment. It’s important the clinicians take time to explain, and patients feel unhurried.
If you are a nervous patient, then let the staff know that. You won’t be the only one!
Dental practices also have different policies and procedures that they follow. You may check whether they send courtesy reminders to patients before appointments, and what the cancellation policy is.
5. Professional registers
All dentists, dental hygienists, therapists, nurses and technicians must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) to work in the UK. The GDC is the body which regulates dental professionals in the UK. You can use the GDC website to check your dentist is registered, and see their qualifications. Dentists who qualified overseas are obliged to provide equivalency, or sit an examination, to register with the GDC. The GDC also provides a useful checklist of the standards you can expect from your dentist.
While all dental clinicians register as individuals with the GDC, the dental practice itself registers with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC is the independent regulator of health and social care services in the UK. It provides advice and guidance, as well as publishing inspection reports.
Checking both the GDC and CQC websites can help you understand the standards of care and treatment to expect when choosing a dentist and dental practice.
A good dentist can change your life!
Most dental patients stay with their dentist for many years. Therefore, you’ll want to find a dentist that offers excellent service. It’s important to take time to choose a dentist who makes you feel comfortable and relaxed, as well as providing the expert dental care your teeth, mouth and gums need.
Is one of our dental practice’s right for you?
Find out more by exploring our website, and find your nearest practice today.