How Internet Research Can Improve Your Dental Care

How-Internet-Research-Can-Improve-Your-Dental-CareThe internet has provided us with easy access to information. Not only has it changed how we shop, communicate, and find entertainment, it has become an extremely powerful research tool. This means that if you are in the process of seeking a new dentist, the internet can provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision long before you set foot inside the dental office. In this article, we will look closer at the types of information you should be looking for to assist with your search for the perfect new dentist.

The Basics

You should already have the names of local dentists that you would have collected through referrals from your family doctors, family members, friends, and co-workers. With these names, you can search online for websites that each dental office has online. Through these websites, you can find such details as the physical location of each office, the hours of operation, the specific services offered, and most anything else you need to know about the operation of the dental office. Is the office technically advanced? Do they use digital tools to communicate with patients? These are questions worth learning the answers to.

The Credentials

The internet will allow you to verify a countless number of credentials held by the dentist you are researching. This may include such details as membership in related industry associations such as the American Dental Association (ADA), local or regional dental societies, what certification the dentist holds, and any specialties he or she is qualified to provide. You can also search to find out if there have been any incidents of malpractice or lawsuit activity brought against them. You will want to be sure that the dentist you are looking into has all the right and current accreditations and is recognized by industry organizations.

The Extras

If you have been seeing a dentist already, the worldwide web gives you a valuable tool to research various things related to your recent visits. For example, you can conduct searches on medications that have been prescribed to learn more about what they do and things they may interact with that could result in harmful side effects. You can contact manufacturers of various products and request samples before you commit to purchasing anything. The internet also gives you the ability to seek product information so you can make informed decisions or offer suggestions of alternatives to your dental professional.

The Coverage

One of the most important pieces of information you will want to have before you select a new dentist is regarding insurance. You will want to confirm that the coverage program you are participating in will be honored by your dentist. If you are not in an insurance plan, find out which ones the dentist recognizes and attempt to join one of those. If insurance is out of the question, inquire about payment terms and if there are payment plans available. Many dentists offer these to assist some of their patients in paying for expensive procedures. Also, find out what procedures are covered and which ones are not.

The Meeting

Once you have gathered all the information you require before making your final decision, it is a good time to schedule an actual casual meeting with the dentist. At this meeting, you should have questions that cannot be researched online. Examples could include asking how the dentist and dental office responds to emergencies that fall outside of normal business hours. You may wish to ask about dental health problems. Are they treated only when they occur or does the dentist provide detailed instructions on how to implement preventative measures to keep oral health maintained between office visits?

The Reviews

One more important piece of the puzzle to consider when researching a new dentist is what others are already saying about him or her. You can learn a great deal from online patient reviews. In them, you should discover if there are issues with the overall operation of the dental practice and the communication skills of the dentist. Naturally, there will be reviews posted by angry people, but what you are looking for is patterns. Do they cancel a lot of appointments? Is the dentist rude, mean, or just difficult regularly? Do men get treated differently by the dentist and staff than women? Are they good with children and teach them dental care?

The Selection

By this point, you should have all the information you require to make your final decision on who you plan to add to your healthcare team. It helps to look at the dentist you choose as a team member or partner who plays a vital role in your healthcare plan. You will want that professional to be someone you can turn to when needed for advice and proper treatment. You will also want that dentist to be someone who can give you the advice you need to make changes in your oral hygiene habits that will make a difference in the results each time you have a regular deal visit scheduled. A team player is essential in this role.

The Probation

Finally, you should have a reasonable timeframe in mind where you will put this new dentist through a probationary period. During this time, you should have your regular visits and observe everything you have researched. If for some reason you don’t feel comfortable with your decision, it is okay to change dentists. If you did enough research online in the beginning, you should have a lot of information on more than one dentist in your area. Revisit that data and proceed with the meet and greet phase of your search with one of the other candidates you selected until you find the perfect fit for your dental care needs.

how-to-find-the-best-dentistFinal Thoughts

When you are in search of a new dentist, you almost have to approach it with the same attitude as looking for a new car or a new place to live. You need to find out as much as possible before making your final decision. The internet gives you a tool that makes researching local dentists very thorough. You should be able to answer most of the questions you have about a particular dentist just by spending time online.

Pranjal Bora works as Director of Product Management & Design at Digital Authority Partners, a San Diego-based website development agency.