Switching dentists is a time-intensive process to say the least. Therefore, it is best not to start seeing a new dentist for reasons apart from those mentioned below. If, however, you have decided to switch dentists, read on for some helpful tips and information. After all, your decision will factor in oral health, quality of dental procedures, and your current dental insurance plan.
Why Do People Change Dentists?
While there can be many reasons prompting a person to switch dentists, a few are far more common than one might think.
Considering this is the first person you see upon entering the dental office, you expect politeness and warmth. However, if you encounter the opposite, you may be justified in second-guessing your decision.
The fact is, dentists, provide a service. Therefore, if you aren’t treated properly, your decision not to return is justified.
Impossible to Schedule an Appointment
Ideally, you should be able to secure an appointment within a short period from when you call to make one. Understandably, it can be highly frustrating if your dentist is unable to accommodate you within this time frame.
It’s understandable to think someone could wait so long before seeing the dentist. If you end up going elsewhere, as a result, no one can blame you.
Everyone values time. This is especially true in today’s fast-paced world, where we’re all racing against the clock.
No one appreciates a waiting time that exceeds 10 minutes at the dental office. However, if it’s an incredibly hectic day, you should expect the dentist or receptionist to inform you as soon as possible and apologize for any delays. This way, you get to either exercise the option to reschedule your appointment or wait it out. Either way, you get to choose what’s best for you.
Hygienists that leave a lot to desire in terms of bedside manner can be a deal-breaker. However, since we’re aware of how important it is for patients to be in caring hands if you choose to switch dentists based solely on this, you’re not alone.
Ensuring patient care is essential for dentists. Even if you have decided to go to a new one, you should consider letting your former dentist know the reason(s) behind it. If the hygienist is to blame, get the point across so your dentist can make changes to rectify the issue; if not for you, then for others.
The truth is, some hygienists may seem insensitive. Your dentist might be entirely unaware of this problem. You are looking to minimize your pain, not add to it. This can be even more of a nuisance when you could have very easily avoided the pain.
At this point, it doesn’t matter how excellent a dental practice may seem. As a patient, you will have no other option but to go to a dentist who accepts your dental insurance.
As a rule, you should be sure to make well-informed decisions regarding switching dentists based on insurance. After all, you don’t want to keep switching dentists every few months because you failed to do your due diligence the first time around.
Outdated Office Interior
The way a dental office looks communicates volumes. If you’re like most patients, a dentist’s office could tell you everything you need to know.
The way a dental office is set up communicates how well you’re going to be taken care of. If the office looks a bit shoddy, has old furniture, or indoor plants needing some TLC, this may indicate other issues relating to patient care, or lack thereof. Even though the service your dentist provides may be top-notch, you might walk away with the assumption that the interior indicates the level of care you may expect to receive.
Sometimes the reason behind switching dentists can be as simple as moving to a new city. In this case, you should speak with your current dentist. If they’re familiar with the area you’re moving to, they might even be able to recommend a dentist. All you have to do is ask.
When Should a Person Switch Dentists?
Changing Dentists Due to an Issue With Quality of Care
As is apparent, the main reason behind this is when you feel you’re not getting proper care. All the points listed above, directly and indirectly, communicate this one truth.
Can I Transfer to a New Dentist?
The answer is yes.
Transfer Your Dental Records
Once you’ve done your homework on the new dentist, you can go about getting a hold of your dental records. Here’s how to do it.
Signing a release form will prompt your former dentist to transfer your dental records to your new one.
If you feel uncomfortable speaking with your former dentist about this, you don’t have to. Since it is a legal matter more than anything else, you simply need to let your new dentist know who your old dentist was. The release form is allowing your new dentist to expedite the process.
Don’t make the mistake of not getting your dental records transferred because your health should be your top priority. Starting anew puts you at a disadvantage.
Inform Your New Dentist
Once you’ve taken care of those above, let your new dentist know your dental records are en route. This is an important step and will benefit you in the long run. Be especially mindful of this if you’re switching dentists during a dental plan that warrants timely check-ups.
Dental Records Aren’t Just About Your Mouth
As is true of medical treatments across the board, your dentist should be brought up to speed about the medication and treatments you’ve undergone. This will help them assess your situation and enable them to give you the best treatment.
A word of caution: failure to transfer your dental records will force your new dentist to start treating you with a fresh set of records. This will erase your medical history, and that is something you should try to avoid.
How Do I Tell My Dentist I Want to Switch?
If the situation is such that you have to break the news to your dentist in person, the sooner you do it, the better. There’s no sense in delaying the inevitable. If you’re having trouble getting past feeling awkward, focus on the fact that it’s the least you can do for someone who has treated you for some period.
Respect the relationship you’ve shared with them, and give them the courtesy they so deserve. If they ask why you’re leaving, be honest and let them know your reasons. Remember, it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. Make sure it’s a polite interaction.
If you feel they will find out anyway once they’re asked to release your dental records, you’re right. What you’re wrong about, however, is not speaking with them directly. To reiterate what was said earlier, you owe them this much, if not for you, then to help them correct a situation for others.
Things You Should Know When Changing Dentists
Changing dentists is not easy, but if you have several reasons to switch to a new one, here are some things to be wary of.
Do Your Research
There’s no such thing as enough research when it comes to searching for a new dentist. This decision will impact your oral health and any procedures and treatments you are scheduled to receive. So leave no stone unturned to collect information about your future dentist.
We’re lucky to be living in a time where everything is just a tap away. Start by shortlisting a few dental practices near you and proceed to read reviews. It’s not enough for your dentist to be a thorough professional with the proper certifications under their belt. What you need is for them to have years of experience.
Speaking of reviews, don’t go by the first few that you see. Instead, exhaust your research and read as many as you can access. We all know how insightful one bad review amidst multiple positive ones can be.
That said, don’t be quick to rule out the possibility of problematic patients. The truth is, some people blow things out of proportion, and their awful experience can very well be a product of their own doing. As they say, there are two sides to every story. While researching, it is essential to keep this in mind. Go with your best judgment and give your options the benefit of the doubt.
Figure Out Your Insurance Compatibility
This is one of the first things you should confirm before heading over to the review section. If a dentist isn’t going to accept your insurance plan, then there’s no point in wasting precious time getting to know more about their practice.
Insurance plans vary in their coverage. Some cover 100%, while others take care of 50-80%.
Please take note of the insurance they accept and verify this information by phone. The reason for this is that there’s a chance that information online may not be updated. This takes about a minute or so to do. Also, it will bring the dentist in question back in the running to become your new one.
DHMO vs. PPO
The main difference here is that dental HMO (DHMO) offers either minimal or zero copayments to dentists or dental clinics that have been pre-selected. PPO, on the other hand, strikes a balance between the choice of dentist and low-cost services.
Pertinent to switching dentists, PPO insurance plans will allow you to change even if you don’t have a referral from a primary care dentist. In addition, even when signing up for a PPO plan, you are not asked to mention one.
You Will Need to Transfer Your Dental Records
To reinforce what was stated earlier, make sure to sign a release form to have your old dentist transfer your dental records. Dental records highlight information that is integral to future treatments and procedures. With them, your new dentist will be well-informed about your oral health. It would not be wise to start afresh.
You Will Need New X-Rays
Prepare yourself for this likelihood if more than a couple of weeks have transpired since you last got an X-ray. This is important because your teeth may have changed drastically since then, and your new dentist will be examining your teeth for the first time.
It will also speak to their professional standing to want a recent depiction of your teeth.
Schedule a Visit
If you’re one of the 18.8% of people whose anxiety gets in the way of their dental health, this should prove especially helpful. Once you have managed to put together enough information, you should schedule a visit to put any remaining apprehensions to rest.
It would be wise to go with a set of questions you couldn’t find answers to online. By going in-person, you will also be able to see how clean and maintained the clinic is. If you want, you can ask for a tour. Any decent establishment will happily oblige.
Guidelines for Dental Care Under COVID-19
Since dental appointments are inherently in-person, a personal visit will also help determine how strictly dentists follow SOPs. This can help you make a more informed decision. Nothing should take precedence over your health and well-being.
Can You Have Two Dentists at the Same Time?
Some people split their time between two dentists. They do this to save money. However, it’s might an unwise thing to do because it can be quite lengthy process to go to one dentist for an extraction and another for an implant; for example.
In an effort to save some money, you’re may end up paying more to undo the damage that may result in this type of scenario.
If your budget is tight, go back to doing some research. Some dentists would be more than happy to perform some dental procedures such as extractions for free.
There you have it. A round-up of all the information you need to know when switching between dentists. Bear in mind, however, that this is not a one-size-fits-all formula to a situation as complicated as changing dentists. Always do your homework and make a decision that suits you best.
If you’re looking for one of the best dental services in Sacramento, schedule an appointment with SoftTouch today by calling 916-424-1703.