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Learn The Top Questions You Should Ask A Dentist Before Your First Visit
Trying to find a great new dentist isn't something that has to be difficult or even take a lot of time when you already know just what you're looking for.
Start this process out by writing down all the conditions and concerns you have. Also, jot down a list of good questions. These questions will be different from one family to the next, and even in different circumstances.
You might be moving to a whole new area, city, or state and have no clue where you should start. Maybe you just don't like your current dentist and would like to switch. It could even be that your current dentist happens to be closing their practice and you just need to head somewhere else. If you're moving into the North Florida area, you can visit a Jacksonville dentist or use the Florida Dental Association's website to find a dentist near you.
If you're not sure what questions you should ask a new dentist, consider the following as a starting point for your list:
Is this dentist taking new patients? If their office isn't actually accepting new patients, then you can quickly and obviously strike them off of your list.
Will their office file claims for you?
Or do you need to do this yourself? It's standard practice for many dental offices to file claims on behalf of their patients. Joining an office that doesn't provide you with this courtesy means you're just opening yourself up to needless volumes of paperwork. The offices that do it for you not only make life easier but also are more likely to file the paperwork correctly.
Does this office take your insurance?
It won't matter who files the paperwork and claims if the office or dentist in question doesn't even work with your insurance policy.
If they don't, you're going to be paying for everything in full out of your own pocket. This should be easily avoidable in most markets if you have dental coverage.
You can also just skip this question by consulting your dental insurance carrier about which particular locations happen to be in their network.
Does this office provide any sort of payment plans?
Without insurance, dental costs can be a nightmare. Even with insurance, you might still need help with affording the work that your family needs.
Does the office take copays or will you have to pay full amounts up front?
Again, it's become standard in most offices to accept only the known copay for an appointment or service, and then wait for the insurance company to reimburse them for the rest.
Some offices, however, will expect you to pay everything up front, which can be really expensive for some things, and then you get reimbursed by the insurance company on your own later. This can be risky if complications develop with the payments or reimbursements.
At best it's seriously inconvenient because it's potentially lots of money that you have to go without, disrupting your emergency savings and current cash flow.
Does this dentist see kids as well as adults?
If you have children in your family then you're better off with a dentist that will see you and your kids. That means you only go to one location and can even blend appointments to save trips.
Kids are more likely to handle the dental experience calmly when they know adults they trust are there and doing the same thing.
Even if your family doesn't currently have kids, you might in the future, so it's good to look into this in advance.
What sort of after-hours or emergency care will this dentist provide?
Not every dental situation can be scheduled in advance or wait for normal business hours. It's obviously very useful to have a dentist you're already familiar with available if things happen late at night or on the weekends, as compared to having to find a second dentist for emergencies, and one that's not someone who knows your family and their teeth at that.
How long will it usually take to get appointments?
Even though routine check-ups might be scheduled a half a year in advance, this won't always be the case. Getting relatively quick appointments can work a lot better in terms of being responsive to your oral health.
Having said that, holiday breaks and summertime can be times when dental offices get slammed with appointments because college students and even younger kids are briefly out of school and available.
Are there fees for canceled or missed appointments?
Dental appointments are sometimes made six months in advance and things come up. Learn how much flexibility you have in moving things around without a financial penalty.
Is there anything that the dentist needs to know from your family doctor?
Your dentist might need to be advised about any changes in the overall status of your health. For example, sudden complications happening in your mouth might be from medications you are taking or even related to conditions or changes happening somewhere else in your body.
If you are ready to ask good questions, such as the ones on this list, then finding your new dentist should be quite easy. Good luck!