It’s important to understand this information before searching for a dentist.
It is a national goal of the dental
profession and of the federal and state governments to establish a
“dental home” for every person living in America. A
“dental home” is an office where comprehensive,
compassionate and culturally effective dental care is available. It is
based on respect and welcomed interaction with patients, parents,
guardians and the dental staff. The dental home will treat your oral
disease and help you to prevent its return. Information about how to
secure a “dental home” is presented in the following
Before you look for a dentist, you
need to decide exactly what help you or your child require. You need to
know the specific dental insurance plan that you have and the names
of dentists in your area who accept your plan.
By following the previously mentioned recommendations, your new dentist should welcome you into his or her practice. You may be given a number of options regarding how to best meet your dental needs. Recommendations will be made and benefits and risks will be explained.
For adults (patients over 21), government programs may have many restrictions on what they will cover. You have the right to choose care (for example cosmetic bleaching) that is not covered by the government. However, it will be your responsibility to agree in writing to the treatment and to pay for it. The dentist’s staff can obtain written information to show you what your insurance plan covers. If this information is not readily available to the dentist, he or she will request a predetermination of your benefits from your insurance company.
If you are not sure about whether or not to proceed with a given plan of treatment, you should always seek a second opinion. Likewise, if the dentist, for whatever reason, is not comfortable in providing your care, he or she may recommend that you seek treatment elsewhere. This is a two-way street as both doctors and patients want to be happy with the results.
If, after a dental examination and dental cleaning you decide to proceed with care, make sure you follow all instructions you are given. If possible, try to obtain any special pre-operative or post-operative instructions in writing. When in doubt, call the office.
If treatment goes smoothly and both you and the
dentist are satisfied with the results and the new patient/doctor
relationship, you will be welcomed back for future regular follow-up
appointments. This is the point at which you have established a
“dental home.” The only way to keep a healthy mouth is to
return for regular checkups at your “dental home.”