Family dentists are dentists that take care of not only their own family but the families of many people. If a dentist’s practice is primarily focused on family members, then it is a family dentist. Family dentists take care of the teeth of adults and children, so the care for adults is focused on preventing tooth decay, cleaning the teeth to remove plaque, and providing dental care to keep them healthy. The primary focus is prevention. A family dentist also takes care of the teeth of their own family members and friends and neighbours, which requires a high level of expertise in dental diagnosis.
The first step to finding a great family dentist is to show up at every opportunity you can to learn about all the dentists in your area. Try calling every practice for a description of what they do, how long they have been in business, how long they have provided dental services in your area, any referrals they may have, etc.
1. What qualifications and experience do the dentist have?
A family dentist should have a DDS or DMD degree, as well as residencies, internships, and fellowships in paediatric dentistry. A family dentist should also be licensed to practice their trade in the country and province that they live in. Having an up-to-date degree and license shows that the dentist is educated in their profession and has been trained by the board of health in their area. A family dentist should have some minor credentials in these areas so they can provide more than basic cleaning and assist the doctor with any procedure that the dentist may not be skilled at performing. Having some minor certifications allows the dentist to refer you to a specialist such as an orthodontist or specialist when needed.
2. What kind of staff does the dentist have?
A family dentist should have a professional dental staff, including at least three dental hygienists, an oral surgeon, a dental assistant, and a scheduling person. Each member of a good team will be helpful to you and your children’s dental care. The team will work together to provide you with great service, information about teeth and education on dental health. A well-trained staff will take time to listen to the patient’s needs and concerns while treating them with great dignity, respect, and care.
3.What do you see in your office?
A family dentist should have a friendly and comfortable office. The waiting room should be clean to keep anxious patients calm. Each patient should feel like their dental care is the most important thing for the staff to take care of. The staff should be able to provide you with great service, information about teeth and education on dental health in a peaceful environment. The office will also have modern equipment such as digital radiographs, intraoral cameras, anaesthetic delivery equipment etc., which are vital for a family dentist’s practice.
4.What needs does the dentist’s office fulfil concerning your family?
A family dentist should have a patient-friendly system that will allow you to plan out your visit on the previous day so you can get in and out quickly. You should also be able to expect a quick and efficient cleaning by ensuring that they are using up-to-date equipment such as digital radiographs, intraoral cameras, anaesthetic delivery equipment etc., which are vital for a family dentist’s practice. A family dentist should also have paperless records. This allows the dentist to keep your information so that you can review your records online and will help to keep medical and dental insurance companies from getting stuck with duplicate claims.
- What’s the dentist’s office charge?
A family dentist should have an affordable fee for a family or one adult, and discounts for children and seniors in most areas. A family dentist may charge a flat fee for a cleaning, exam, or treatment plan, but do not count on this rate as it may change. Instead, check with the office frequently to get current rates so that you can compare prices among all offices in your area. No matter what, keep in mind that a family dentist should make you feel comfortable and do their best to make sure you will keep coming back for years to come.
- How long will it take to schedule an appointment?
A family dentist should have a very efficient scheduling system that will keep you from waiting long periods of time in the waiting rooms. A family dentist should also have an appointment-only policy, so clients cannot call to make an appointment from home. A family dentist should have a short waiting period during which you can get registered with the staff and then be taken back for your appointment within the hour.