Whether you have just moved to Boston or your family dentist is retiring, you’ve ended up in the market for a new dental professional. With over 3,000 dental office listings in Boston alone, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the search. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, your quest for the perfect dental office may become much easier. Here are five factors to consider when choosing Boston dentists.
Forget that complimentary dental goody bag filled with floss and a free toothbrush. To make it in an increasingly competitive marketplace, modern dentists are offering amenities that would tempt many patients to camp out overnight for the chance to have their teeth cleaned.
In addition to expanded beverage services and ceiling-mounted television screens, many offices also offer heated blankets, cushy pillows, and satellite radio. Some practices have even expanded their patient amenities to include luxurious spa services like paraffin wax hand treatments, chilled herbal eye pillows, and massage chairs that soothe and relax patients as they receive their dental treatments. Couple those incredible amenities with fantastic play places for the kids and upgraded patient gift bags, and you can understand why dentists who offer improved patient amenities are so popular.
When you search for a dentist, don’t forget to ask about the patient amenities. Look for little extras that would make your experience more enjoyable, and don’t be shy about asking potential dental offices how they give patients the VIP treatment.
- Dental Specialty
Although many people assume that one dental office is just like another, every dentist has been trained to offer a different set of services. One of the most important things to think about before you start looking for a dentist is whether you want to look for a general or family dentist, or a dental specialist.
The American Dental Association recognizes nine different specialties: dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral and maxillofacial radiology, prosthodontics, and orthodontics and dentafacial orthopedics. Although many dentists advertise their businesses as specializing in cosmetic dentistry or orthodontics, it is important to note that there are no laws barring dentists from practicing outside of their certified specialty. For this reason, potential patients should ask whether or not dentists are actually licensed in the procedures you need.
- Services Offered
If you have a range of dental concerns or a large family, you should be looking for a dentist that offers a wide range of services. After all, who wants to trek across town to have their teen’s braces tightened only to hurry back to their general dentist for a checkup?
Before you make an appointment with a new dentist, take the time to research the kinds of services they offer. Check dental office websites to see the list of available dental services, and don’t forget to check whether or not they accept your dental insurance. If the business doesn’t have a particular service listed, contact the practice to see if they offer the kind of appointment you would need. It might seem like a lot of legwork, but finding a dentist that offers all of the services you need will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
- Office Environment and Bedside Manner
Your time at the dental office is a lot easier when you are surrounded by kind, caring professionals. In fact, research has even proven the benefits of working with kind doctors and office staff, with patients who enjoy a positive doctor-patient relationship recovering faster and experiencing fewer complications.
As you search for a dental practice, look for a team of professionals committed to creating a positive office culture. Pay attention to how receptionists answer the phone, how hygienists usher patients to treatment rooms, and how the dentist approaches your treatment. If you feel valued and happy when you are in the office, chances are that you will look forward to your appointments and enjoy easier dental care.
- Patient Reviews
If you’re like most people, you might reach out to friends and family members when you need to find a new doctor or dentist. Recommendations can be crucial in the search for a great dentist. However, if you’re new to an area, you’ll need to rely on strangers’ reviews, which can also be a goldmine of valuable information–when you read them correctly.
While many dentists post patient reviews on their own websites, they’ll naturally be focused on the positive. Look for anonymous reviews offered by third-party businesses like Yelp or Google. These platforms don’t accept payment for positive reviews and dentists can’t remove negative feedback automatically, so you have a better chance to see how most patients really perceive the quality of their care.
That being said, remember that patients who have had a negative experience are far more likely to leave reviews, which is why you should take harsh criticisms with a grain of salt. Try to eliminate the outliers and focus on the details within the average review.
Don’t settle for ordinary. Look for a dental practice that will truly exceed your expectations. By taking the time to evaluate different practices, you can find a dentist that you and your family will love.