Dental cleaning and regular oral checkups top most people's list of necessary evils. There's no denying that proper oral health can affect your entire well being, so finding the best dentist for your and your kids is essential.
If your teeth are in good health, general cleaning and checkups are likely all you need. The field is wide open for practices that provide this.
As many dentists work to understand the relationship between our bodies and our oral health, looking into a functional dentist could be what you are looking for. Integrated medicine looks at the total health of a person and how it affects issues such as oral health. A functional dentist works to treat the patient in between cleaning and check-ups to improve overall health as well as protect your teeth.
Many insurance plans, especially those for children, offer some form of a low-cost dental plan. Even bare-bones dental insurance can be good if you are only using it for regular cleanings and checkups. There are stand-alone dental plans such as Delta Dental that can supplement your health insurance.
Dental fees are not standardized like medical costs. Each office can set their rates. If your current dentist is not in your network, you can ask them for an “In-Network Fee Schedule.” This dictates the maximum fee the dentist may charge for treatment procedures allowed by the insurance company.
Yes and no. The American Dental Association (ADA), represents more than 163+,000 dentists. The ADA is a membership network that offers credentialing, research, and advocacy for its members. Other organizations, such as the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), Academy of General Dentistry (Chicago, IL), and American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) also offer guidelines for treatment standards and codes of conduct that members are expected to adhere to. All of these organizations are pay-to-play and aren’t actively regulated. However, members are required to keep up with continuing education.
The devil's in the details -- and some details should not be overlooked. All dentists are certified through the American Board of Dental Specialties (ABDS). Check to see if your prospective dentist is. This will also tell you if the dentist is licensed to work in your state. These are two critical pieces of information to make sure your dentist is qualified. This would be the place to check out the referral your friend gave when they said, "I know a guy."
These tips will help take the distress out of dentistry. Much of finding a medical professional you trust comes down to how well you get along with them. Do your values align with theirs when it comes to the care you want? Were they referred by someone who's opinion you value?
And if you don't like them on the first visit? Don't go back. This is you and your family's health, so do what make you feel safe and comfortable.