I have published my Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Family Dentist but it’s fairly comprehensive. If you are hoping for some helpful tips in a much shorter article, look no further! Below I discuss some simple but invaluable strategies for ensuring your next Dentist in Kitchener is a great fit for you!
When looking for a new Dentist in Kitchener, you’ll want to think about a few things first. You need to know what is important to you. Here are a few variables:
- Transparency. Some Dentists make a habit of showing you x-rays. They take photos with their intraoral camera so you can see why treatment is necessary. If you appreciate transparency, make sure you choose a dentist that has (and uses) his/her intraoral camera!
- Convenience. Most people now want most of their service providers to be close to home or work. The volume of Google searches conducted with the search string “dentist near me” is massive. It shows that people are increasingly concerned with proximity and convenience.
- Billing Arrangements. Patients love a direct billing Dentist! What does this mean? If you have a $700 dental treatment bill, the direct billing Dentist will collect the subsidy from your insurance provider directly (typically 80 – 100% of the total treatment amount). They will collect only the co-payment from you. In my $700 treatment example, an 80% dental plan provider will kick in $560 while you pay the $140 balance. You don’t have to wait to be reimbursed or fill out messy dental claim forms. A Dentist who operates on a “fee for service” model will have you pay the entire $700 at the time of treatment. You will then have to wait for your dental insurance plan provider to reimburse you for costs.
- Evening hours. If not missing work to make your appointments is important to you, make sure you choose a dental office that offers lots of evening hours. Some offices will even offer Saturday appointments. You can easily call an office and find out about evening hour availability or, easier still, take a look at hours listed on their website.
Treatment Capabilities/Referral Tendencies. Many dentists do not provide treatment to kids. Others won’t do root canal treatments, surgical extractions, or dentures. These dentists are still fantastic at what they do but seeing them may mean more visits to see a specialist and with elevated treatment fees. Most Dentists will list all dental treatments and services on their website but it doesn’t mean they perform all at their office. You may want to reach out to a candidate dental office to ask if they perform complex extractions or provide denture fabrication. Having a Dentist that can perform lots of advanced techniques can save you extra time and money.
Perks. This is probably the factor least related to dentistry but patient comfort matters. Sometimes, these “little things” can keep an anxious patient calm during treatment. For instance, some people like being able to watch TV at their dental appointment. Others appreciate having a cup of organic coffee in the waiting area. If these added perks are important to you, check out in-office photos on a candidates website when looking for your new dentist in Kitchener.
Finding YOUR Best Dentist in Kitchener
Everybody prioritizes different things when looking for a service provider. This article is designed to help you find the Dentist you think suits you best. People used to rely heavily on “word of mouth” referrals from family and friends. This still happens. However, people are increasingly reliant on online reviews. Use the source(s) with which you are most comfortable. Use sources that you feel are trustworthy.
Again, most people are looking for a good dentist near their home or work. You can perform a search in Google or Yahoo using the popular search strings “dentist near me” or “best dentist in Kitchener“. Search engines will usually respond to the terms “best” or “top-rated” by providing Dentists with a higher than average rating. This is certainly not a perfect or fool-proof approach, but it can be helpful. I would then encourage you to read online reviews to get a sense of what, in particular, people enjoyed about a particular Dentist in Kitchener. You can learn quite a bit this way.
You can also use the factors listed above to come up with search strings that will deliver better matches for you. “Direct billing Dentist Kitchener” or “Dentist with evening hours” will help you to locate offices that better meet your needs.
It is probably a good idea to start with 4-5 offices that meet your preliminary criteria. From there, look at their website. You may be able to see how their office looks. Most dental websites include a statement of philosophy about the care they provide. For example you might read something like: “we aim to deliver affordable dentistry in a calm and comfortable environment“. You may also be able to read patient testimonials on their website.
From there, you may decide to reach out to a few of these offices. If I were looking for a new Dentist in Kitchener, I would ask the following questions:
- Who owns the clinic and how many days a week do they practice? I really believe that continuity of care is one of the most important things in Dentistry. At some offices, the owner does not practice there. At others, patients are booked with the Dentist that is available soonest. If you want to see the same Dentist all or most of the time, let them know.
- Does the Dentist treat children (i.e. fillings) or typically refer to a Pediatric Dentist (“Kids Dentist”)? If you are scouting a Family Dental Office for your whole family, you will want to know the answer to this question. It is becoming increasingly common that children are referred out for simple treatments like dental fillings. Once at the specialist’s office, sedation can be recommended even for routine procedures. As a Dentist that treats children at least 3-4 times each day, I can tell you that simple fillings can be completed on most children without need for sedation. In some instances, a child’s anxiety or activity level may prevent work from being completed – in these cases, sedation is certainly necessary. Having your child’s treatment completed by your Family Dentist in Kitchener saves you time & money while minimizing the need for sedation.
- Does your office offer “Meet & Greet” consults? These are becoming a more common offering at Dental Offices. A meet and greet appointment is a great way for you to get to know a candidate dentist. Confirm that the appointment will be “no charge” so that you are investing only your time.
Once you decide on a dentist, make sure you keep lines of communication open. Do let them know your priorities. This way, they have a fair shot at tailoring the care they deliver to your preferences where possible. Give them the opportunity to keep you happy as a long-term patient!
If you would like to have a Meet & Greet consult with Dr. Kyle Hornby to see if Enamel Republic Family Dentistry will be the right dental home for you, please feel free to request a consult here.
Written by Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener Dentist
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a dental condition or treatment.