Dentistry is an often overlooked though vital component of health. We are lucky to live in a time with such comprehensive dental care, as historically when humans had problems with their teeth, they didn’t have access to the same kinds of procedures and treatments available today and were forced to suffer through their pain. Imagine having a cavity in a time without root canals, or even toothpaste! Receiving regular dental care is a crucial part of maintaining your overall health and can spare you from a lot of future headaches—or, more appropriately, toothaches—because regular cleanings and checkups grant you access to important preventative screenings and treatments.
With all this said, however, it can be difficult finding a dental care provider you can trust. You may not know where to start past a quick google search such as best dentist in Edinburgh, TX, but rest assured in knowing that there are a variety of tools available to patients to help them choose a provider. Many have anxieties about going to the dentist, and it’s important to find one which soothes those worries, not exacerbates them. Thankfully, we are in times of unprecedented connectivity, and this grants the public access to tools to compare and contrast the dental providers in their area to choose the right one for them.
Start with Your Insurance
The cost of seeing out-of-network healthcare providers can be costly if you live in the United States, or other countries with privatized healthcare, so it’s important to start by looking at providers which are covered either wholly or in part by your insurance plan. Thankfully, dental plans, unlike other plans, tend to keep more options available. Many insurance providers also have websites in which you may search based on your zip code providers which are close to you geographically and are covered by your insurance. Use these tools to generate a list of potential providers and use the following steps to narrow down your options.
Ask for Referrals
Connections are everything, and this applies to healthcare professionals, too. If you are lucky enough to have a physician you trust already, try asking them for recommendations: chances are, they might know some names of providers which other patients of theirs have found success with.
You may also ask friends or family for recommendations, as this process is one which many people have to go through and simply asking for recommendations may shorten your searching process drastically. You may not even have to approach anyone in-person to do this: social media websites like this one allow for distant contacts you may not have even thought to ask to provide feedback for you. Just make sure to ask why your friends and family recommend these providers and make sure that their reasons align with your biggest goals in a provider. One may recommend a dental care provider based on how comfortable the provider makes them feel, their fair pricing, or convenient scheduling.
Often, you may receive multiple recommendations for the same provider, or group practice. This is a big green flag, so take these seriously.
You may try to compare the online reviews of patients of all the providers on your list of potential options: just make sure to delve into the “why” factor of each review. For example, if you prioritize fair pricing, pay special attention to any reviews which mention the provider’s costs.
Similar to how restaurants and businesses now have online spaces which allow their customers to leave reviews detailing their experiences, more and more websites are cropping up such as healthgrades.com which allow patients to do the same for healthcare professionals. These can be a valuable tool in your search.
It is also important to remember one more inherent paradigm of these websites, and review websites in general: often, only people with stronger opinions will be the ones to leave reviews, be it positive or negative. There is no hard-and-fast rule for navigating around this bias, so think critically during your review of these web pages and remember that there may be many other patients who did not leave reviews because their opinions weren’t as strong as the reviewers you’re reading.