Maybe you’ve recently moved to the area or are unsatisfied with your current dentist and need a change – whatever the reason, finding a new dentist is a process you should try to get right. After all, your oral health is a vital part of your overall well-being, and the right dentist can make a big difference. So, if you live in the Greater Toronto Area, keep reading for some tips that will help you find the best dentist in your area.
The best way to find a new dentist is to get a referral
Your life is probably busy enough as it is and making time to research a new dentist might be difficult. That’s one reason that getting a referral is the preferred way to find a new dentist in your neighbourhood. Not only do referrals make it easy, they also usually mean that the dentist is doing a good job (otherwise why are they being recommended). Speak with your family, your friends and even your current dentist (if you trust them) to get recommendations. You can also get in touch with the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) who can help by providing you a list of trusted dentists that could interest you.
It’s still recommended to do your own due diligence by scheduling an interview and clinic tour before making a decision, but referrals can really speed up the process.
Window shop your neighbourhood
Anytime you’re out and about, keep your eyes peeled for local dental clinics you see on your way. Keep a notepad handy or simply snap a picture of the office on your smartphone so you can get in touch later. If you have time to do a quick drop in, by all means do so while you’re already there. This is one of the best ways to find a dentist that’s close to where you live or in a convenient location for you to get to.
Check online for dental offices and reviews
Doing a Google search for “dentists near me” can provide some great results. You’ll likely find a bunch of dental offices in your area, and you’ll also be able to read their reviews. Make a list of your top choices and then give them a personal screening via a consultation appointment or phone call.
Even if you found some dentists without using the internet, it’s always a good idea to look them up online and read what their clients have to say about them. Patient reviews can say a lot about whether you should be including the clinic in your list of prospects.
Have a list of priorities and questions to ask ready
You have a shortlist of potential dental offices and now it’s time to kick a few tires. To speed up the process it’s great if you know what you’re looking for in a dentist. Considerations could include the clinics proximity to your home or work, are they available for evening or weekend appointments, or do they offer pediatric dentistry for your kids. If you drive, you’ll want a parking area nearby and if not, then the office should be easy to access with public transit. If you have specific needs like if you’re anxiety prone when it comes to visiting the dentist, it’s a good idea to mention these when you speak with your dentist.
Check out the office and schedule an interview
It’s a good idea to set up an interview or consultation with a few dentists before deciding on one. You should always meet a dentist and his or her staff before becoming a patient so you can make sure you’re on the same page and that you feel comfortable. A good rapport can go a long way to a successful patient-dentist relationship because you need to be able to freely discuss and voice your concerns.
Likewise, you’ll want to ensure that the clinic itself is clean and up to date so you can feel comfortable that your oral health is in capable hands.
What you can expect at your initial appointment
You interviewed a few clinics and settled on the best choice for your current situation. Now you have a first appointment scheduled and are wondering what to expect.
During the initial visit, your dentist will generally perform a comprehensive oral check-up, create or transfer your dental record to their office and speak with you about your oral health. Then depending on what you had booked and time allowance you might be able to squeeze in a quick cleaning while you’re there. Be open with your dentist if you have any concerns and listen to their advice. You’ll then be asked to book your next appointment.
What if you’re not willing to commit to a dental clinic
If you’re unsure whether you’ll be moving again soon or just don’t want to be tied down to one dentist, you can always have your oral care taken care of by a walk-in dentist. There’s usually plenty of options around that will see new patients but keep in mind that you wont have a dentist that knows your history this way. Need help finding one? Try another Google search for “dentists in Vaughan” or “Hamilton dentists” as examples and you’ll quickly find a few places you can call for or drop in for an appointment.
Finding a new dentist doesn’t need to be a stressful situation if you plan a few steps and follow through accordingly. Remember that if a dentist turns out to not be the right fit, you can always find another one with whom you’ll hopefully have a better experience. One thing though, don’t skip dental visits because your oral health is important and professional care is required.
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