What to consider when switching your oral healthcare provider.

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Dr. Gurjeet Kaur Rai, B.Sc, RDH, DDS of City Heights Dental in Mississauga, Ont., provided us with tips on what to consider to find your perfect match.

Simply begin with the reason you are looking for a new dentist as a jumping point to determine your priorities and preferences.

Reason 1: Recent relocation.

“If you’ve moved and cannot see your previous dentist, then first ask neighbors and co-workers in the area. Word of mouth is very powerful. If you come across a few names, narrow it down by distance and convenience.”

Look for a dentist who is open late some evenings and also on the weekend if your schedule is busy during the week. Plus, “you want an office where they can accommodate you for a dental emergency. But, most importantly, you want the staff to be friendly and upbeat.”

Reason 2: Unhappy with current dentist.

“If you are unhappy, figure out why first. Then look for an office that doesn’t do that,” explains Dr. Rai. For example, “if your dentist is always on holiday, cancelling appointments or is closed on weekends, then search for a group practice. This way a dentist will always be available, and the hours offered are better.”

But if you are unsatisfied because of a bad treatment or overall poor experience, then turn to word of mouth. Listen for someone people rave about, who is great with kids and has an inviting office.

Reason 3: Haven’t seen a dentist in years.

“If you haven’t been to the dentist for a long time, then most likely it’s due to fear, finances and time,” says Dr. Rai. Begin by seeking a dentist recommended by peers or family. “Upon meeting the dentist, let him/her know your concerns. If I know my patients’ concerns, fears and what they like to see, I will do everything in my power to deliver it to them.” Once you find an office you enjoy going to, you will slowly overcome your dental anxiety.

No matter what the reason for your search, always communicate openly with your dentist. “You want someone who spends time with you at your first appointment, addresses all of your concerns and also brings up some of his/her own. Most dentists can get a feel of what a patient needs, but it’s great to know exactly what your patient wants,” so speak up!

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