What to look for when finding a new dentist
How do you know when you’ve found a good medical professional? There are a lot of factors to consider. For most people, the biggest considerations are cost and health insurance. If you find a great doctor who won’t take your health insurance, that’s probably not going to work, especially with the high cost of out-of-network fees in the United States. Cost is another factor. There are great doctors who only charge a few bucks, and there are terrible doctors who charge outrageous fees, so cost isn’t necessarily going to be a sign of quality. You have to find a price point that works from you, then go from there.
How organized are they?
When you call and schedule an appointment, are they able to pull up a list of possible dates and times right away, or do they have to scramble to find the appointment book? When they say, “We’ll bill you,” does the bill arrive in a week or two, or do you not receive anything except a late bill notice three months later? An office that can’t stay organized is likely to have issues in other places as well. They should be on top of things like billing insurance properly as well. This isn’t the 1950s; we’re living in an era where insurance management software and other tools are widely available for use. Office personnel shouldn’t have to work their way through large stacks of papers in search of your patient file; it should be something they can access with a few keyboard strokes.
Pay attention to how long they keep patients waiting, too. Sure, emergencies are unavoidable sometimes, but constantly waiting two hours past your appointment time is a sign that something has gone wrong on their end. Functional medical offices don’t regularly keep their patients waiting for that long. If there is an emergency, someone should be able to come out and tell you what’s going on and how much longer it will be. Good communication is key when things don’t go as planned.
How established are they?
There are a few categories of business where we appreciate something new and shiny. Hotels and restaurants are good examples of the “newer is better” phenomena. However, when you’re going to see a medical professional, you want to make sure that he or she has been in business for a while and have established a decent reputation in the community.
If your dentist recommends you visit a specific periodontist, it’s not a bad idea to go home and perform some basic research on the name your dentist gave you. Google the person and see what comes up. One of the first results should be some sort of web page, even if it’s just something on Facebook. In this day and age, any company with sense has some sort of web presence. A solid, informative website is one sign that the place you’ll be visiting cares about transparency, and that’s never a bad sign, even if it’s only piece of the puzzle. Look for reviews if you can find them, but don’t get too upset if there’s one or two one-star reviews. If the overall trendline is good, then the people who wrote the bad reviews are probably leaving something out.
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