How to Find the Best Dentists for Denture Fittings
The cost and quality of dentures can differ greatly depending on the option that you choose, but it also comes down to the dentist that you visit. It’s natural to want to visit your family dentist or even the one that is closest to your home, but it pays to shop around as you may find a cheaper and better option elsewhere.
With that said, let’s look at some of the ways that you can find the perfect dentist to help you get the best dentures for your needs and your budget.
Why It’s Important to Choose a Good Dentist
Any dentist won’t do, just like any dentures won’t do. There may be some huge differences with regard to the experience level and skill level, as well as the approachable demeanor.
Before you give your nearest dentist a call to book an appointment for some new dentures, considering all of the following:
The Price Can Differ Substantially
Whether you are insured or not, the cost is very important and it can differ substantially from one provider to the next, even in the same state. You could save hundreds of dollars on a set of dentures by spending more time looking for the right dentist, and it’s not just the dentures that you have to think about.
Finding a cheaper dentist for you and your family could save you thousands of dollars over the course of many years. Even on the most basic level, the cost differences are substantial, with fillings ranging from $50 to $150 each across the country and tooth extractions going from a low of $75 to a high of over $300.
Imagine how much you could save if you need an initial check-up followed by several extractions and then a high-quality set of dentures. It could be massive!
In some cases, the difference in cost could be make or break. It could literally be the difference between getting a set of dentures and going without. And even if you will be able to afford dentures regardless of the price, the cash you save is still very welcome.
Even if you save just a few bucks, it will be enough for an XODENT Kit and a couple of years’ worth of XODENT tablets, ensuring that you have everything you need to keep those dentures clean, strong, and well-maintained for years to come.
Quality is Key
Buying a set of dentures is not like buying off-the-rack furniture. It’s not the same across the board and the difference in quality can be quite substantial. In other words, it’s not all about the price, as you also need to think about the quality.
Even if they use the same dental lab, the quality can be vastly different as it all comes down to the skill of the dentist.
Aftersales is Important
Will your dentist fix and adjust your dentures free of charge if there is an issue in the first few days or weeks? Will they happily overlook any minor changes in consideration of all the money you have spent? Will they allow you to book an emergency appointment when your dentures break and you have an important event coming up?
All of these things need to be considered.
Think about what happens in the worse case scenario and whether you will be offered the level of care that you need. The last thing you want is a dentist that is so busy they can only book you an appointment several weeks down the line.
How to Find the Right Dentist
Once you have considered the above, it’s time to start looking for the best dentist, one that has everything you’re looking for and will make your life easier and your smile better!
Check that they are in Your Insurance Network
If you are insured, you need to check that the dentist is within your insurer’s network. It’s an obvious one, but it’s easy to overlook, and if you go to a dentist that is not within your network, you won’t be covered.
You can usually find a substantial list of dentists on your health insurer’s website. The list should always be your starting point when looking for a dentist.
What Do the Reviews Say?
Reviews are a strange thing. Most shoppers obsess over them when they are looking for a new laptop or phone. They spend days and even weeks poring through critical reviews and user reviews. They look at comparisons, check every aspect of the machine, and make a decision based on deep analysis.
When looking for a restaurant to enjoy an evening meal, many consumers will check the local restaurant review sites, read Facebook reviews, and see what kind of experience bloggers have had with the restaurant.
But when it comes to a dentist, a place where we expose ourselves and our health more than a restaurant and spend more than an electronics store, we tend to skip all of that and just opt for the nearest one.
It’s crazy, as those reviews exist and they are just as helpful when looking for a dentist as they are when deciding whether to buy a Microsoft or Apple laptop.
See what other people are saying about the dentist and pay attention to their comments and experiences.
There are generally four different kinds of dentist review profiles.
The first covers the ones that have absolutely terrible reviews. These are the ones that do a bad job, are unfriendly and unsupportive of their patients, and have generated a lot of suspicions due to their unskilled practices. They are rare, but it’s important to weed them out, nonetheless.
The second category covers the dentists that are too new to have generated a lot of reviews. In such cases, you should only use them if the dentist in charge has a good reputation from other clinics or you have a personal recommendation. This is true even if they have a terrible review score.
An overall score of 1 or 2 out of 5 is terrible for a clinic that has been reviewed 100s of times, but it’s fine for one with 5 or fewer reviews, as it suggests that the score is being influenced by a single person. For all you know, it could be a competitor and even if it’s not, one experience shouldn’t shape your opinion.
The third category is the middling scores, the dentists that seem to be a little hit and miss and have average scores of 3 or 4. They are good in a pinch and if you don’t have many options. There’s a high chance that you will have a good experience here, but the risk of being stung is also higher than it is with the final category.
Speaking of the final category, it covers all dentists with an average score higher than 4 out of 5 and with lots of reviews behind them. It doesn’t matter if there are a few bad reviews in there, even if they are so bad that they make you question the legitimacy of the company.
Such negative reviews are common, and while some of them are genuine, it could indicate that there was just a disgruntled customer who was slightly unhappy with their experience and decided to attack the dentist as a way of getting back at them.
It is more common than you might think.
Do They Cover Your Needs?
Does your dentist actually have what you’re looking for or are you making sacrifices so that you can accommodate them?
It doesn’t matter how specific your needs are, from insurance and denture type to location and dental phobia, there are dentists out there that will check every box.
Do They Meet Your Anxiety Needs?
If you have severe dental anxiety, you need to find a dentist that can accommodate your needs and provide a caring and reassuring experience. All dentists have experience with people who have odontophobia, but that doesn’t mean that they will provide the level of care and attention that you seek.
Some might be abrupt and try to rush you through the appointment while others will give you more time and provide you with additional care options.
Can They Accommodate Your Schedule?
Many dentists will be happy to accommodate busy and unusual schedules. If you can’t just accept any appointment that they offer because you work late and have a busy life, you need a dentist that can squeeze you in during late evenings or even on weekends.
Contact them in advance and ask them what times they operate and whether they can make any changes to these times for emergency appointments. You’re not expecting them to always accept an appointment late-evening on a Sunday, especially if you just need a quick tweak. It’s those rare emergencies that matter the most, when your dentures break and you desperately need a fix.
Are They Upfront About the Cost?
A dentist shouldn’t be like a dodgy tourist restaurant in Europe, where you only get the bill after you’ve eaten and suddenly discover that you just paid $10 for a glass of water. They should be upfront about the cost. You need to know exactly what is expected of you and that’s true for every aspect of the treatment, from the initial tests to the extractions and the actual dentists.
Ask them and if they don’t tell you, look elsewhere. A little ambiguity is okay if they have not yet seen you and don’t have your medical records. They might not know exactly how much an extraction will cost until they see the state of your teeth and can judge whether any surgical intervention will be required.
However, those quotes should have a minor difference and they shouldn’t be hitting you with a vague quote like, “It could be anywhere from $500 to $2,000.”
How Long Will the Process Take?
Does the dentist have any onsite facilities that will allow them to quickly prepare and make your dentures? Are they able to repair and refit with just as much speed? Will they send everything away to a dental lab and, if so, how long will it take to be returned?
These questions are important for all stages of the process. You need to know how long it will take for that initial fitting and how long the repairs and realignments will take, as well.
You can also inquire about immediate dentures. If you still have some teeth left in your mouth, and you’re ready for a set of dentures, those teeth need to be removed. You’ll be left with gaping wounds that need to heal and it could take weeks before the wounds heal and your dentures are fitted.
Immediate dentures give you an option in the meantime. They will be fitted as soon as your teeth are removed and will remain in place while the gums heal. It helps with the healing process but it also ensures that you don’t have a toothless smile for the next few weeks.
How Much Experience Do They Have?
Even the best dentists have to start somewhere and just because they are new, doesn’t mean they won’t do a good job. In fact, if they are new to dentistry, they might even be a little cheaper. However, it’s fair to say that an experienced dentist is probably going to make fewer mistakes and provide you with a more enjoyable and comfortable experience.
It’s especially important to find an experienced dentist if you have any dental anxiety. They will have seen hundreds of people in exactly the same situation as you and will understand what works and what doesn’t. They may have fine-tuned their approach so that they know exactly what to say and do.
Can Your Friends or Physician Recommend Anyone?
A friend’s recommendation shouldn’t mean more to you than 100 user reviews. However, it is definitely more valuable than a review left by a few people that you don’t know. Not only can you guarantee that they are telling the truth, but you can quiz them on the process and go in-depth regarding the costs and procedures.
If any of your friends have had dentures or extensive dental treatments, ask them for recommendations. You’re not looking for a half-baked, “Yeah, they were okay” from someone who had a few checkups.
You want a glowing review from someone who has visited the dentist multiple times, has paid for extensive dental treatments, and has always been happy with the services provides.
Of course, you still need to consider the other things on this list, but that recommendation will point you in the right direction.
Be Wary of the Warning Signs
As you can see, a lot of elements go into finding the perfect dentist, but there’s more. You should also keep an eye out for the following warning signs:
- Bad Staff: A good dental clinic is about so much more than a skilled and experienced dentist. The staff should be friendly and approachable as well. If not, it could be a sign of a poorly managed clinic.
- An Unkempt Office: How clean is the office and the dentist’s room? You’re going to be spending a lot of money on very intrusive healthcare and so it needs to be absolutely spotless. A clean office is a sign of a dentist that follows strict cleanliness protocols and won’t let anything slip and put your health at risk.
- Limited Treatment Options: A good dentist should be able to offer you a wealth of different treatment options and a number of different denture styles. If they have a very narrow approach and insist that you have to do things a certain way, it’s a huge red flag. Recommendations are fine, but options should always be provided, discussed, and then recommended.
- They are Very Defensive: If the dentist responds to bad reviews by questioning the reviewer’s motive, patronizing them, or insulting them, it’s a bad sign. The same is true for all companies but it always feels a little worse with medical professionals as they really should know better!
- They Upsell: A good dentist will only do what is necessary. They are experienced and trained medical experts and not used car salesmen. You don’t want to have to sit there and politely refuse for several minutes as they reel off a series of offers. It’s okay to give you some extra options, but not to keep pushing them on you. Be wary of dentists that only seem to care about your money.
- They are Very Vague: A good dentist shouldn’t be vague when providing answers about treatment options and costs. They should answer all of your questions clearly and professionally and provide you with the information that you seek.
Last but not least, trust your gut! It’s a completely unscientific approach, but sometimes you just know when someone is right. It is important to establish a good relationship and find someone that you actually like, as you will need to connect with them multiple times over the years and it should be a moment that you look forward to.