According to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, you should first and foremost take your time choosing a dentist. I other words, don't wait for an emergency! And there are several things for you to consider when looking for a dentist.
Location and office hours – Choose a dentist close to home or work. This will make it easier to schedule visits and to arrive on time. Also, make sure that the dental office is open on the days and at the times when you are able to schedule an appointment.
Cost – Does the dentist accept your insurance? Does the dentist offer multiple payment options such as credit cards, personal checks, or payment plans? If your insurance plan requires referrals to specialists, can this dentist provide them for you?
Also, be aware that costs vary by practice. If you can, get estimates of what your dentist might charge for common procedures such as fillings, crowns or root canal therapy. Even if you have dental insurance, you may be paying part of the costs yourself.
Personal comfort – Most dentists that have been in practice for a few years are going to be competent from a medical perspective. So one of the other most important things to consider when you choose a dentist is whether you feel comfortable with the environment of the practice and the doctor and staff.
Are you able to explain symptoms and ask questions? Do you feel like the dentist is taking the time necessary to hear and understand your concerns? Would you feel comfortable asking for pain medicine, expressing your fear or anxiety, or asking questions about a procedure?
Most people have anxiety when it comes to dental procedures, so it is very important that the practice and dentist you choose provide for your comfort and even relaxation regarding all visits. You should definitely only choose a dentist who is compassionate and caring and has a staff that demonstrates that they do indeed care about you.
Professional qualifications – The dentist's office should be able to tell you about the dentist's training, credentials and years of experience. It is of utmost importance that you realize that a practice where the technology is up to date, and the dentist has accumulated experience as demonstrated by years of experience is going to factor into the medical care you will be receiving.
Emergency care – Find out what happens if you have an emergency, either during normal office hours, or at night or on a weekend. A dentist should not refer you to a hospital emergency room except under extreme circumstances. You should be able to contact your dentist (or a suitable substitute) at any time by calling an answering service, cell phone or pager.
State licensing boards – Most state dental boards have a website where you can verify if your dentist is licensed. The website also should tell you whether there have been any disciplinary actions taken against him or her.
Dr. Garcia of Park Street Dental located in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida has been practicing dentistry for over 20 years. He has the knowledge and the modern technology to treat his patients informatively as well as professionally. He also has the experience to perform his services compassionately and as comfortable for the patient as possible.
Few dentists are as qualified as Dr. Garcia who is a member for many years of the leading dental associations including the American Dental Association, the American Implantology Association, the Florida Dental Association, the West Coast Dental Association, Pinellas County Dental Association, Association of Implant Dentistry, and the Academy of General Dentistry.