image a dental chair for how to choose a dentist blog postLearning how to choose a new dentist who is accepting new patients can be challenging, especially if you’re new to the area. Knowing what to consider and ask when choosing a new dentist can help you find the best dental office for your needs (without wasting a lot of time).

All general dentists are licensed to provide quality restorative, therapeutic, and preventative dentistry. It’s what makes picking a dentist such a unique process! Your preferences may be different than those of a friend. 

Get familiar with what questions to ask when selecting a new dentist. To help you get started, we’ve compiled some of the most important information you’ll want to consider.

Search Online When Selecting a New Dental Office

When you’re looking to see which dentists are available in your area, be sure to check out any online reviews.  What you’re looking for are consistent positive ratings for the dentist and their staff. If you notice the same trend from one review to the next, it’s a good sign. Likewise, if you have the chance, be sure to leave a review and rating for any past dentists you’ve worked with. It will help others find the best dentist in Ottawa without having to visit each practice in person!

Consider Which Treatment You’re Looking For

If you know you need a specific type of treatment — such as kids’ dentistry or Invisalign treatment — ask if anyone you know has had those procedures performed by a local provider. Alternately, if you already have your short list of top dentists to call, contact each office individually to find out if those services are something that they offer. If they don’t, it will be easy to keep narrowing down your selection process. 

For example, if you want to get Invisalign, you’ll need to find an Invisalign dentist in Ottawa. Not every family practice will offer invisible braces. Those providers have gone through specific types of professional development coursework to offer adjunctive services to meet the needs of their patients. 

Ask for a Referral When Choosing a New Dentist

Who was your previous dentist? Even if they’re retired or in another part of Ottawa, there’s a good chance that they have personal connections with a dentist near you. Try contacting them to see if they can offer a referral or suggestion on who to see. You can also check with the Canadian Dental Association to locate dentists in your area to find the closest one to your home or office. 

Know Which Type of Dentist You Need

General dental offices can provide everything from checkups to cosmetic dentistry. If you have issues like an abscess or impacted wisdom tooth, depending on what it is it is possible you might need to see a specialist. Dental specialists focus on specific areas of dental care such as orthodontics, root canal therapy, oral surgery, dentures, paediatrics, gum disease, and pathology. 

You may not need to see a specialist at all. For best results, start with a family dentist for a comprehensive exam. If you require specialized care, they can refer you to a specialist in your area and send a copy of your records to their office. Otherwise, you might be able to complete all necessary care right there in your family’s regular dentist office. 

Consider the Convenience Factor

Do you have specific issues you’re trying to work around, such as an odd schedule or someone with special needs in your family? Call the office directly to see if they can accommodate your situation. 

Some specific questions to ask when selecting a new dentist include:

  • What are your office hours?
  • Do you see new patients?
  • Do you treat children in your office?
  • How early does your office open?
  • How late do you see patients?
  • What happens if I have a dental emergency?
  • Do you offer sedation?
  • What payment options or financing plans are available?
  • What sort of technology do you use?

Ask Your Friends/Neighbours/Co-workers

One thing you’ll want to be sure to consider when choosing a new dentist is how many “real” people you know that recommend them. Asking other people in your community about which dentist they see can help you narrow your selection down to just 2-3 providers to start with. 

Do a quick search for “dentists near me” and print out a list. Each time one of your colleagues makes a recommendation, put a mark next to that dentist on the list. Once you start to see a trend, you can feel confident about taking the next step: calling their office. 

Give the Office a Trial Run

How are you greeted when you walk into the office? 

Is the staff friendly? 

Do you have to wait for a very long time before being seen? 

Is the dentist nice and attentive to your needs?

After an initial visit or new patient exam, you’ll have a general idea as to whether you like their office. If you do, you can make plans to bring the rest of your family! If it’s not the right fit, consider getting a second consultation from another provider. 

Don’t Let Time Get Ahead of You!

Keeping on top of your oral health requires routine checkups and cleanings, so that your dentist can intervene when issues pop up. If you need a new dentist, be sure to find one quickly enough so that you can keep your routine hygiene appointments. It’s easy for time to pass by quickly and dental problems pop up without you realising it’s been a year or more since your last visit!

At Parkdale Dental Centre, Dr Cristin McCauley and her team offer family-friendly dentistry for all ages! If you’re looking for a caring dentist in Ottawa for you or your children, we encourage you to visit us. Call today to request an appointment.