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Personal needs, priorities important when choosing a dentist

Posted March 7

Any dentist you choose should have a doctorate in dental medicine or dental surgery.

This story was written for our sponsor, North Carolina Dental Society.

Finding a dentist who is experienced, close to your home or work, friendly, and who meets your expectations can be a challenge.

Check out these five tips for finding a dentist who's an expert in the field and fulfills all your family's priorities.

Check Qualifications

Any dentist you choose should have a doctorate in dental medicine or dental surgery. The doctoral program should be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Check with the state's dental board to ensure dentists you are considering have all recommended business and practice certifications.

Dentistry is a gift as well as a profession.

"Many dentists go above and beyond to excel in their field," said Dr. Cheryl Siegel, a dentist in Raleigh. "Your dentist should do everything within their skill set to help you, or refer you to a specialist who is highly trained in their field."

She added, "From filling cavities to giving root canals, it's important to find a dentist who knows the best and most updated ways to do procedures."

You can find these dedicated dental professionals by looking for a few telltale signs:

Set Your Priorities

Every family has a unique set of priorities.

Do you have young children? Will you need to schedule appointments at specific times because of a hectic work schedule?

Making a list will help you determine whether a dentist checks all your boxes. Pediatric dentists specialize in treating children, for example, and you can narrow your search based on your criteria.

If you want a dentist who's experienced with adult teeth issues -- like implants and surgeries -- go with a dentist who advertises a specialty in procedures for aging teeth.

Consider Location and Insurance

Think about what you've liked and disliked about dentists in the past, and consider how far from home or work you're willing to travel, so you can set a search radius.

Most people benefit from choosing dentists in their insurance network. This keeps costs down and simplifies the process of submitting claims.

Contacting your insurance provider can give you a further-narrowed shortlist.

Ask Family and Friends for Recommendations

Because dental work may seem intimidating, having someone you feel understands you and can communicate well is key.

"The personal element is important in any health provider," Siegel pointed out. "You want someone you can trust to work on you, your partner and your kids. No matter how great a dentist is on paper, there are times when a certain approach and demeanor won't match with your expectations."

Asking family and friends can put you on the right track to finding a dentist whose personality works to make you feel calm and positive about the procedures you need.

Trust Your Gut

When you have some leads, schedule short interviews with potential dentists.

You can bring your family to see how you feel with the dentist and office.

When doing your own research and investigation, you'll find a dentist you can rely on for many years.

This story was written for our sponsor, North Carolina Dental Society.

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