Dental care is something none of us should be without. Your oral health is a vital component of the overall health of your body and as such cannot be overlooked. Just like with any other health issue, having an amazing dentist taking care of your smile is almost a necessity, but unfortunately, it’s sometimes not that easy to find the right professional for you (and your family). It’s especially difficult if you don’t know where, or how, to start finding one.
That’s why if you’ve just moved to the Hamilton area and looking for a dentist, or if you feel in need of an upgrade form your current clinic, then this article will be great for you.
How to find a new dentist
This can be quite a broad topic, and there are many different ways to go about it. That said, we do have a few proven methods, tips and tricks that can help you land at the right clinic with a dentist that understands your needs.
If you’re struggling to find someone, then the following suggestions can help:
Make a list of wants and needs
We recommend creating a list of the things you want from your new dentist. Ask yourself some of these questions and then begin to add items to your list so you can check them off later.
- Do you need a family dentist?
- How far are you willing to travel?
- Do you need specific appointment times?
- What services do you require (if you know what those are)?
- How concerned are you with the clinic environment?
- Are you covered by insurance?
Always shop around
It’s important that you check out and interview as many dental clinics as you can in your area. Do not under any circumstances simply choose the first office you see and make them your new dentist.
Unfortunately, not all dentists are created equal and services between clinics will differ, as will the level of service provided. Note that all dentists practising in Ontario are required to be fully certified by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO), so in terms of qualifications, you’ll be in good hands at any clinic. Differences that do crop up are usually things like services offered, the quality of the clinic itself, and the compatibility you will feel with your dentist and their staff.
Ask for a referral
Asking someone you trust, be that a family member, close friend, colleague or otherwise for a recommendation is a great way to add a few names to your list of potential dental offices. Knowing that someone who’s opinion you value considers this person to be a great dentist can go a long way to narrowing down your choices and adds confidence to your choice.
Speak with your insurance company
Often, insurance companies will have a list of trusted dentists in Hamilton that they will happily share with you. This is an easy way to add a few more reputable clinics to your list of places you’re going to check out.
It’s easy enough these days to Google a dentist and find out a lot of information about them and their clinic. Look for things like credentials and customer reviews because these will give you an insight into others experiences at the clinic. A specific dentist’s level of experience can also play a role in how well they perform, but not always. There’s no better way to know if you should add this dentist to your list of candidates.
Visit in person and schedule a consultation
Lots of dentists might seem like a great fit on paper, but then on closer inspection turn out to be anything but. Armed with your list of questions, you should be scheduling consultations so you can get answers straight from the source. The consultation can be over the phone, but we recommend a face-to-face meeting if possible. That way you’ll get a good feel for how you and your potential new dentist get along – it’s very helpful to ensure appointments aren’t as much of a hassle as they would otherwise be.
It also gives you an opportunity to visit the dental clinic and see it for yourself. Look for things like cleanliness, what the waiting room looks like, is the dental equipment modern and up to date, are the staff members friendly, what’s the location like (parking, transit accessibility), and more things you can only know from a firsthand experience. Dental appointments are stressful and any element that increases the tension really isn’t a good thing. Finding a Hamilton dentist to fit your lifestyle is usually all in the details, so be thorough, pay attention, and don’t settle until you find the right dental office.
Ask about appointment availability
There’s nothing worse than having a dentist that doesn’t have appointments available. Sometimes a clinic is super busy, and books appointments weeks in advance at all sorts of inconvenient hours, or the clinic hours themselves aren’t a good match. If you’re usually busy during the week and require weekend appointments, then you need to make sure any prospective clinics offer them (because not all clinics do). It’s also important that your dentist offer emergency dental care services, or at least have an action plan in place to get you help if the need arises.
Telehealth is another thing to ask about. While this likely won’t be a deal breaker, it’s nice to know you can get dental assistance over the phone or via video chat to save time and hassle of visiting the office unnecessarily.
Ask about payment options
You’ll need to inquire how your new dentist will work with your insurance company (if applicable), otherwise ensure they take your preferred payment method, or offer dental financing plans if that’s something you might need. It’s better to know what your options are before you are asked to pay for an invoice.
The tips we’ve outlined should get you on your way to finding the best dentist in Hamilton for you and your family. You might feel like it’s too much research and time spent doing so, but a dentist is an important part of the road to a healthy life, and as such the decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. Don’t worry though, if the choice you make turns out not to be the right one, you can always go through the process again and hopefully end up with the right dentist next time.
If Hamilton doesn’t have what you’re looking for, then you can try finding a St. Catharines dentist, or someone in Burlington, Brantford or other surrounding areas.
Good luck and good oral health!
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