Picking a new dentist can be a lengthy and pesky process, especially if you were happy with your old one. Whether your former dentist is retiring, taking a leave of absence, or moving away, you’ll want to start looking for a replacement as soon as possible.

But how can you make the right choice when choosing a new dentist? To help make the decision easier for you, we’ve gathered 7 questions that you should consider posing to any dentist you’re considering, to help you ensure that you’re both a good fit. Let’s take a look!

What areas of dentistry do they specialise in?

If you have any particular dental concerns, (such as sensitive teeth, TMJ, or gum disease) you’ll want to ensure that your dentist specialises in the treatment of these conditions, and regularly sees other patients with the same problems. If they’re not up-to-speed on the latest science, development, and research on the subject – and lack professional experience in treating these conditions in their practice – your dental experience isn’t going to be as effective as it could be. Make sure to select a dentist who has hands-on experience in treating dental conditions like yours (if you have any!)

What treatments do they offer (and which don’t you offer?)

Some dentists will vary in what they offer when it comes to treatments, surgery, and other dental procedures, such as teeth whitening. If you think that you might one day be interested in a specific procedure – for example, dental implants – you’ll want to ensure that your new dentist can perform this for you. Once you think you’ve found a dentist, ask them for a list of treatments that they’re able to perform, as well as an overview of what they’re unable to offer. This will avoid any disappointment down the line – not to mention the hassle of changing dentists once again.

Are regular appointments available?

If you’re thinking about choosing a highly in-demand dentist, you should probably consider inquiring about their general availability when it comes to emergency appointments (or any other appointments outside your regular check-ups.) If you end up with a toothache, or need to schedule an emergency appointment for any other reason, you don’t want to end up waiting days or even weeks to get seen. Make sure to ask about your dentist’s general availability – if they’re fully booked months ahead of time, it might be a good idea to keep searching.

Will you be assigned one regular dentist?

Another important point to consider when choosing a dentist is whether or not you’ll be assigned to one or several dentists at your chosen surgery. Many dental surgeries – especially busy ones – will often operate on a rota basis for patient appointments, meaning that you’ll be seen by any number of dentists when you go for your 6-month check-up or a scheduled treatment.

If you prefer a more personal relationship with your dentist, asking about the surgery’s policies beforehand can prevent any disappointments.

How often can you visit for check-ups?

At Smile Cliniq, we always recommend that you go for a dental check-up once every 6 months – this is the best way to ensure that your dentist can catch any tooth decay or early signs of gum disease before they worsen. Before selecting a new dentist, ask them how often you’ll be able to schedule your routine check-up, and even ask if you schedule them in advance.a If they’re unable to commit to this, keep on searching.

What do others think of the dental surgery?

While this isn’t a question that you’d ask directly to the practice or its dentists, you’ll still want to know what other patients think about the surgery. A good way to do this is by going online and checking out reviews left by current and former patients; you can find these reviews on Google Business, and maybe even on their own website. If the dentist and the surgery itself receives consistently good reviews, you can rest assured that you’re choosing a professional practice with a track record of happy patients.

Is the dentist in a convenient location?

Finally, the location of your chosen dental practice is another important point to consider when picking a dentist. For example, if you’re based in the capital, it’s a much better idea to pick a dentist in London than have to commute out to the surrounding counties for an appointment.

Here’s why it’s important; if your chosen surgery is an hour’s drive away from your home, it’s unlikely that you’ll keep up with your routine check-ups every 6 months. It’s always easier to find an excuse to not do something when it involves an extended effort, and an hour’s commute is a great excuse to postpone an appointment. So don’t give yourself the opportunity to postpone it!

It’s simple: when your dentist is in a convenient location, you’re much more likely to remain consistent with your appointments. Plus, living close to your chosen dental surgery will make all the difference when it comes to emergency appointments.

The bottom line

Picking a new dentist can feel like an impossible operation, especially as so many seem to be fully booked for the foreseeable future. By filtering your options and ensuring that your dental needs will be met, you’ll be sure to find a dentist that works for your needs.

Ready to ask these questions in person? Come visit us at Swiss Cottage!