Many people don’t realize that their relationship with their dentist may be as important as the one they have with their family physician. In urban centres particularly, people are surrounded by advertisements about dentists taking new patients yet, more often than not, we fail to focus on finding a dentist who’s a good fit. To be fair, it’s hard to know where to start. Are they all the same? Does it really matter where you go? While you would rightfully expect any local dentist to be qualified and licensed, there are some common-sense recommendations that help identify the right fit for you and your family, in order to increase the odds of good health in the long run.
At its most basic, we often narrow the selection of dental clinic options by weighting the practical considerations. Proximity to home, work, or school is often a key criterion to narrowing the list of dentists taking new patients. The premise is obvious—the more convenient the clinic is to reach, the more apt you will be to go. In the same vein, a clinic also needs to offer office hours that are conducive to your family’s schedule. Thirdly, but also importantly, is a clinic’s attention to any special considerations your family has—young children, accessibility for a disability, and so on. Finally, though this is subjective, the environment of a dentist taking new patients should be friendly and welcoming, but also communicate comfort to you—whether that means homey or high tech, large or small. Finding the right fit in this regard greatly decreases the chance of unpleasant or anxiety-ridden dental visits. For many, pursuing long-term oral health will hinge on this factor.
All dentists taking new patients are acutely aware that one’s oral health—or lack thereof—is itself a window into a person’s greater physical health. Problems in the mouth do not only signify problems elsewhere in the body, but can be the cause of them. There are numerous infections and diseases that can be identified, alleviated, controlled, or even avoided when regular visitation with the same trusted dentist is a priority; entrusting your health to someone is an important, yet necessary decision!
Ultimately, dentists know that their practices are built on good relationships with patients: Maintaining good relationships happen when dentists and patients alike are genuine in their dealings with each other, with the dentist offering good communication, respect, and building trust. Finding such a dentist—and developing a long-term therapeutic relationship with him or her—will positively impact your overall health now and in the future.