Whether you’re genuinely afraid of the dentist, you’ve had some bad experiences, or you just want to find someone you can connect with, finding a caring dentist you can trust will make a huge difference.
In a perfect world, everyone with a medical license would be personable and relatable, but that’s not always the case. Some people don’t mind medical professionals who have a more stoic demeanor, but if that’s not what you want, you can find a better fit.
Here are some ideas you can apply to find a caring, trustworthy dentist in your area.
1. Search Language-Specific Directories
If your hesitation or discomfort with trips to the dentist stems from not speaking the same language, your first task would be to search online for a dentist who shares your primary language. Finding a dentist who speaks the same language as you will greatly improve your care because it ensures they’ll understand the nuances of your symptoms and medical history. You will be less likely to be misdiagnosed and given treatment that is meant for other conditions.
Look for local dentistry directories specifically for professionals who speak your preferred language. For example, Hay Dentistas provides a directory of U.S.-based dentists who speak Spanish. The directory covers every state and many major cities, so there’s a great chance you can find someone no matter where you are.
There is a big shortage of Spanish-speaking medical professionals, not just in dentistry, but in all medical professionals. This is why many medical universities require their students to learn at least one common secondary language.
If Spanish isn’t your preferred language, some searching on Google should help you find dentists who speak the language you prefer.
2. Request A Brief Consultation First
Dentists are busy people, which means you probably won’t be able to catch one for a quick ten-minute chat in their lobby. However, if you’re willing to pay for a consultation, they might squeeze you in between patients.
You can go in for a consultation where the dentist examines your teeth and just let them know you don’t actually want your teeth checked, and you just want to get a feel for their personality first. Or you can take the offer for a free or discounted exam and feel it out.
Most dentists offer first-time, new patient specials for exams, so it won’t cost you as much as a regular visit. If you can’t get a new patient deal, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a lower price by sharing ahead of time that you don’t want any services and you wish to have a conversation.
Also, be aware that when you visit the dentist for routine appointments, you probably won’t even make contact with the dentist. It’s usually the dental assistants who perform the exams, cleanings, and even simple procedures like fillings.
Unless you need serious dental work, you might never encounter a dentist. So make sure you get a feel for the assistants when you visit the office for any kind of consultation.
3. Ask For Recommendations
Personal recommendations are the best way to find your ideal dentist. Ask your local friends and family who they see and why they like that particular dentist. They might like the assistants better than the dentist, or vice versa.
Listen to what they say according to your needs. For example, if a friend recommends a particular dentist because he or she was great at root canals, that may not matter unless you also need to get a root canal. However, if they explain that the environment was peaceful and the staff were all friendly and reassuring, that might be a good indication that you’ll like that dentist’s office regardless of what kind of work you need done.
4. Work On Your Fears
It’s possible that your fear of the dentist might be your only limiting factor. It might help if you worked on reducing your fears by using breathing practices, expressing your concerns to your dentist, and coming up with ways to manage any overwhelm you might feel during a procedure. For example, you might agree on a signal to give your dentist when you need them to pause for a moment.
Finding A Great Dentist Doesn’t Have To Be Hard
Although it can seem daunting, finding a great dentist doesn’t have to be difficult or a disruption to your life. It’s not a monumental task. You have plenty of options, so your best bet is to research reputations, ask friends for recommendations, and try to get in for a consultation to feel them out before committing to getting any real work done.