What to Look for In A Dentist

Let’s be honest: there’s a reason that many people get nervous when they think about visiting the dentist. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience in the past that has, well…put a bad taste in their mouth. Perhaps they have avoided the dentist for so long that they can’t even imagine WHAT might go on once they step through those office doors.

There’s no getting around a visit to the dentist, but it’s more than worth it to find a practice that you can trust. Just like regular checkups with your primary care doctor, your dentist is someone you should visit on a consistent basis. Routine dental care goes far and above keeping your gums and teeth looking and feeling their best. Poor oral health won’t just affect your mouth, it has been linked to chronic health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

The reality is that everyone will eventually need a dentist, whether they want to see one or not.

The best way to reduce dental-related anxiety is to find your dentist BEFORE you need him or her. This way you will already be used to the office, procedures, and equipment.  Therefore, any emergency will feel less overwhelming and more routine.

Then how do you go about picking the dentist that’s best for you?

For starters, location and convenience are vital. You’ll be much more likely to visit your dentist on a regular basis if he or she is in close proximity to your home or office and if it’s easy to book an appointment. For employees who work odd hours or have a long commute, it’s important to find a dentist that’s able to meet your specific needs.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does my schedule allow me to make appointments during the workweek? If the answer is no, then it is important to find an office which is open at alternate times such as like Saturdays.
  2. Do I prefer appointments earlier in the day or after work? It’s worth figuring out whether your practice should be close to your home or to your office.
  3. How easy is it to make an appointment? The doctor should have a variety of open appointments, the front desk staff should be readily available, and your calls should be returned in a timely manner.
  4. If there is an emergency, how and when will I receive care? A practice that offers same-day services for emergency dental care is a great way to ensure peace of mind.

Don’t forget that you have the ability to “interview” a practice in much the same way that a potential employer would interview a prospective employee. Most dental offices should allow you to call and answer any questions you may have; some might even offer tours or introductory visits.

First impressions matter.

Your first experience with a practice can be very telling. Does the office look clean and modern? Do the people waiting seem calm and comfortable? Are staff members wearing gloves? Are the magazines from this century? If things appear to be outdated up front, the office may very well be using outdated equipment and technology, too.

Your dentist should be someone that you feel at ease with, are comfortable speaking to, and are able to ask questions of. A good dentist will be able to explain procedures and answer questions in a way that’s easy to understand. He or she should not make you feel rushed, be understanding and attentive to your specific needs. Even better, he or she should go out of his or her way to make you feel comfortable.

For most dentists, education doesn’t stop once they receive their degree. While you should definitely ensure that your dentist is board-certified and has a degree from an accredited institution, it’s also good to check that your dentist is up-to-date on all of the latest technologies and services that are being offered today. Your dentist should offer any and all services you and your family are interested in, all in one place.

Find a dentist whose insurance plans work for you.

Finally, insurance and payment plans must be kept in mind when it comes to choosing the best dentist for you. Check to make sure that your prospective dentist accepts your insurance and provides multiple options for payments. If you don’t have insurance, it’s especially important to ensure that the dentist office you choose provides affordable options even for uninsured patients. Many practices offer estimates up front, and weighing these can be a good way to determine which practice fits in best with your budget.

Above all, trust your gut. Although you may not love visiting the dentist, it should be a pleasant and stress-free experience that is convenient and easy to fit in to your everyday life. Your dentist should be sensitive to your needs and the office staff should be friendly, welcoming, and knowledgeable about the practice’s services and offerings. The office should be clean, comfortable, and modern. You should be able to afford the work you need to get done, with or without insurance.

At Ideal Dental, we’re doing things differently and we believe you CAN love your dentist. We offer a variety of broad and multi-specialty services ranging from general and cosmetic dentistry, to orthodontics, oral surgery, dentures, and more! Our goal is to create a relaxed, pressure-free setting catered toward patient comfort. We are sensitive to the needs of all patients, even those that are anxious. In fact, we’ll go out of our way to make you feel comfortable. We work with you to understand your needs. We hope to exceed your expectations about dental care from the moment you walk through the door to your final, affordable payment.

Want to experience the Ideal Dental difference for yourself?

We’d love to meet you! Come see why our patients have smiles bigger. With us, you can be proud of your smile. Find and Ideal Dental office in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston or San Antonio today or call us at 214-MYIDEAL for more information.

Do you think your friends, family, or neighbors could use a great dentist? Share our blog or website with them, and while you’re at it, check out our new patient specials.

Ideal Dental was founded in 2008 and has over 80 locations across the state of Texas. Ideal Dental offices provide patients with a wide range of dental services including general dentistry, teeth whitening, orthodontics, oral surgery and emergency dental. Ideal Dental’s mission is to put smiles on the faces of hundreds of patients that visit its offices daily.

Reviewed by Ideal Dental Clinical Advisory Doctor Alex Manrique, DDS

Alex Manrique, DDS
Alex Manrique, DDS

Dr. Alex Manrique was born in Borger, TX and raised in various regions in the United States, but spent most of his teenage years in Texas and graduated from The Woodlands High School in 2002. After high school, Dr. Manrique attained his Bachelors of Science as a Bio-Medical Science major from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. After graduation, he accepted an invitation to attend… more

Dr. Alex Manrique was born in Borger, TX and raised in various regions in the United States, but spent most of his teenage years in Texas and graduated from The Woodlands High School in 2002. After high school, Dr. Manrique attained his Bachelors of Science as a Bio-Medical Science major from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. After graduation, he accepted an invitation to attend graduate school at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas and graduated to receive his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.

Dr. Manrique is a member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, and the Dallas County Dental Society.

Dr. Manrique currently lives in Plano, TX with his wife, son, and dog. He is a huge electronics and technology nerd, and enjoys watching movies, football and soccer games.