What patients look for in a dental practice
If you’re currently looking for a dentist in W1, you may not know where to begin beyond getting on the search engine. Asking friends and family for recommendations is always a great starting point, but if you’re new to the area, what else can you do? While a search engine is a go-to option, using it wisely is a must. Try considering questions you want to know the answers to whilst you are researching the options and this will help you to narrow down the field of options A-Z that are dotted on the map! Questions such as do they offer a range of treatments under one roof – cosmetic, general, restorative dentistry, for example – can save you a lot of time in the future. Finding a dental practice that covers many areas of dentistry under one roof will prevent you needing to be referred to other specialists for certain treatments. It is far more convenient to stay with a practice you have grown to know and love!
Another factor to consider is the location: is it convenient to transport links? Does it have sufficient, convenient parking? Is it close to where you live or work? Also, is it a knowledgeable practice with lots of experienced staff? Has it got the accreditation with the British Dental Association? There are so many factors to consider; it is worth writing these questions down and recording the answers you find for each of the practices before comparing the results! By shortlisting in this way, you can then choose which practices to go and visit.
Visiting a dental practice
When considering visiting a dental practice, give them a call first and consider how friendly and helpful the reception staff are. They are the front of house team that are there to welcome you and if you don’t feel comfortable with them, this could be a sign of how the rest of the practice is going to play out. Be honest with them and say that you are considering your options for which practice to join for treatment. They should be more than happy to let you go and have a look around without any obligation and some websites also have virtual tours. Like buying a house, the feeling you get from the atmosphere of the practice when you walk in is very important. You want to feel at home and relaxed; having dental treatment can sometimes be stressful for patients, so having a calm and inviting environment can be really important in helping you through this. Moreover, check out how staff support nervous patients at the practice. Some dentists have additional training for dealing with nervous patients and if this applies to you, it can be helpful to know how they plan to support you when you’re feeling the pressure.
For some patients, finding out about the financial side of a practice is very important. Whether you need NHS treatment or you want to go private, you should find out about the charges for treatments and see how they compare with other practices. Some practices will offer their own insurance or payment plans, or they will accept other major providers. If there’s any uncertainty about the pricing, you may wish to look elsewhere.
If you’re prepared and organised about choosing your dental practice, you should be able to find one that is suitable for you and that you can feel happy about visiting. A little effort now can save you a lot of trouble in the future, so do your homework and get grinning your best grin with your new dentist’s support.