There are a few things in this world that are a necessity, eating, drinking water, and sleeping for example. There are also certain things that are inevitable; needing a job, paying taxes, and having to go to doctors of all types. This can include a whole array of doctors with different specialties, but the two most common visits are to the family doctor/pediatrician and the dentist. There are all kinds of reasons to visit a dentist's office; extractions, fillings, braces, the list goes on. However, when it comes time to find a dentist, especially one for the whole family, it can be quite stressful. Thankfully, here are some tips and advice to make the process of finding a family dentist a little bit less stressful.
Tip number one. You will most likely go through two or three dentists before you find the "right" one, but that is ok. It is simply not very likely that the first dentist you try will end up being the perfect fit. That is not to say that it is impossible to find your on the first try. Quite the opposite actually, it is very possible, it is simply not very probable. All of this to say, keep trying and do not become discouraged if the first (or even the second or third) dentist you try is not the best fit. Even if one family member likes them, everyone may not and then it is back to the drawing board.
This brings us to the second tip/piece of advice. It is very important for every member of the family to feel comfortable with the dentist you choose. It may not seem like a very important aspect, especially if you have very young kids who may not feel comfortable at the dentist office at all. However, the right dentist will do everything in their power to make their patients feel at ease during every visit, particularly when it is apparent that a patient is nervous or uneasy. This is particularly true of dentists that work with children. If they are very abrupt and do not try to set a nervous patient at ease, move on. In the end, you will be glad that you did. There is always a reason when a patient (particularly children) feel a great uneasiness around someone, always trust your instincts.
The third piece of advice is to try to find a dentist office fairly close to where you live/work. The reason that this makes the list is because a dentist appointment is often stressful enough on its own, but add in a long travel time and it becomes so much worse. There is all of the added time to think about it. This is particularly bad for patients who do not do well at the dentist as well as anyone undergoing a procedure. Imagine taking a ten-year-old to an appointment to have an extraction and you have to travel for two hours to get there... Another unpleasant thought is heading to an appointment for yourself where you know that you will have some sort of anesthetic, then having to drive yourself home, on an hour and a half drive. Of course, it is not always possible to find an office close to you. Anyone who lives in a very rural area may not have a choice but to make a long drive to find a dentist.
The fourth tip is to ask your friends and neighbors for reviews. Ask at your PTA meeting, make a post on your social media pages, ask around at work. It is incredibly helpful to hear about other's experiences and perspectives. If one place gets a lot of negative feedback, probably not a good choice. On the other hand, if one office in particular is getting an overwhelmingly high amount of positive feedback, it is most likely a good place to at least start. There is no guarantee that you will end up agreeing with others reviews of a place, but it is a great way to start your hunt. Another great way to get reviews on all of the dental offices around you is to look each one up on the internet. Almost everything has its own website with a review/comments section. Even if you can't find their website, there are a ton of websites dedicated to reviews of local businesses and offices.
The fifth piece of advice to be offered up is simply this, trail runs. If you are curious about an office, set up a check-up or cleaning for you and/or your partner. If the two of you like them, do the same with the oldest child and so on until all of your family have given them a try. Of course, if at any point during the trial run, someone gives a big no-go, stop the trail right there and move on. If you have a large list of choices, this is probably not the best way to go. If that is the case you will need to narrow down your choices using other criteria first, before beginning a trial run.
The sixth and final tip is to make a list of what you are looking for in a dentist before you being the actual hunt. Writing down all of the things you are looking for will help you organize your thoughts and give you a reference every time you consider a dental office. When you start your list, write down everything that comes to mind, then organize and sort out all of that information into three categories. These categories will be very important, somewhat important, and mildly important. As you begin sorting all of your thoughts into these categories, be sure that all of the most important aspects that you are looking for in a dentist goes into the very important category. Anything that is a preference, but not an actual necessity should go into the mildly important section and everything in-between goes in the somewhat important section. If, after sorting everything out, there are any points that did not make it into one of these three categories, just disregard them entirely.
If you live in the area, be sure to give Farnham Dentistry Family Practice a try, it is a great place to bring the family!