Transform your family’s experience at the dentist.

While it’s important to find a family dentist who’s qualified to take care of your family’s oral health, a great family dentist is capable of much more; they can transform your entire family’s experience at the dentist, making it less stressful and more enjoyable for both you and your kids. At the same time, they can help your children build habits that will help them stay healthier throughout their life. As a result, starting out your search for the “best family dentist near me” on the right foot and knowing what to look for in a truly great dentist can make a huge difference in your family’s oral health and the outlook your little ones have regarding dentistry in general.

Here are a few tips that will help you find the best family dentist for your family.

Decide how far to cast your net.

Proximity to your dentist’s office shouldn’t be the only or most important factor that goes into choosing a family dentist. It’s still an important detail you should decide on before you spend a lot of time researching specific dentists. After all, you’re much less likely to cancel your appointment if you can actually drive there without too much trouble, especially if there are little ones involved! Deciding how far you’re willing to travel to see your dentist will narrow your search down early on, giving you fewer dentists to sift through. If you need to widen your net to increase your options later, you always can!

Start your search with the power of the internet and recommendations.

An easy, simple way to start searching for the best family dentist in town is to Google “best family dentist near me” or ask your family, friends, or coworkers in the area for recommendations — or a little of both. When you ask for recommendations, you may also want to ask if there are dental offices you should avoid; someone’s bad experiences at a dental office can be just as helpful in helping you choose a dentist as a good recommendation, as it still helps you narrow down your list.

Check out doctor bios.

When you’ve received the names of several dental practices or family dentists, track down each practice’s website and spend time reading the biographies of the dentists who practice there. A good biography can tell you a lot about the dentist, teaching you about their education — from what university they attended and what they majored in to where they focus their attention for their continued education — as well as their area of expertise, experience, and even their priorities.

Do your research.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential dentists for your family in the area, start looking up reviews of each practice. Keep in mind that no practice is going to have all five stars, and the more reviews they have in general, the more negative reviews they’ll have, too. Instead of paying attention to the number of bad reviews, pay attention to what percentage of the practice’s reviews are good versus bad.

Reading reviews carefully can also give you an idea about where a practice excels, such as customer service or handling dental anxiety, and where they might need some improvement. Reviews aren’t a replacement for visiting a dental office, but they can help you really narrow down your list by giving you a better idea of how the practice functions.

Choose a family dentist who shares values similar to yours.

At first glance, this might sound like a strange requirement; after all, what do your family dentist’s values have to do with the way they treat their patients? When you look closer, however, it makes sense. Your values impact your life on a daily basis, from the way you interact with people to your work ethic. It’s the same for your dentist; their personal values will impact the way they operate their practice and treat their patients.

A dentist who values family, for example, will likely operate their practice with a lot of personal touches and may go the extra mile to provide the best experience for families. They’ll likely make it easier for your entire family to schedule appointments on the same day, hire staff who are experienced with handling children of all ages with patience and compassion, or take extra steps to keep your little ones relaxed and entertained. Details like these can absolutely transform your family’s experience at the dentist from stressful or impersonal to positive, friendly, and even relaxed.

Look for a family dentist who listens to their patients.

Bedside manner is a term that’s often used to describe the way doctors handle their patients, and it’s just as important for your dentist as it is for your other doctors. You want to make sure you pick a dentist who is approachable. A great dentist will take the time to stop and listen to what you have to say. Not only will this help you and your kids feel more comfortable, but it can actually help your dentist diagnose oral health issues earlier.

Select a dentist who takes the time to answer their patients’ questions.

A great family dentist will also take the time to answer all of your questions and explain procedures to you and your kids in simple, easy-to-understand terms. Giving you this knowledge also helps you play an active role in your family’s oral health and dental treatments; you’re able to make an informed decision about the available treatment options instead of relying on your dentist to simply make a command decision. This helps many patients, especially kids, feel more confident and less anxious about upcoming treatments.

Your family’s oral health is incredibly important, so taking the time to sift through local dentists and find the best family dentist in the area is worth the effort. Finding a dentist who is truly good with your kids and transforms their attitudes toward the dentist, as well as your entire family’s oral health, makes appointments easier and more enjoyable and will help your family stay healthier for years to come.