What Matters In A Family Dentistry Practice

Family dentistry is a very important job, but many people aren't always sure what they should be looking for in a practice. These 5 things matter a lot, so put them on your checklist when you're searching for a family dentist.


Meeting with the best dentists in the county doesn't mean much if it's hard to get appointments scheduled. Look at their published schedule and compare it to yours and those of your family members. Feel free to ask if accommodations can be made, but be prepared to look elsewhere if everyone's schedules don't line up.

Emergency Availability

If you have a kid and they lose a tooth because an errant soccer ball met their face, you want to know that you can get an appointment ASAP. Ask about emergency availability, and make sure to ask if there are any extra costs. You should also talk with your insurance carrier about what sorts of emergencies they're willing to cover.

Meet the Staff

The folks you speak with at the reception window and over the phone are going to be a part of your experience just as much as the dentist is. They're the people you're going to have to talk to when you have billing questions, need to make appointments, or have to ask a simple question. Meet them and chat with them a little bit. You want to get a feel for how they treat patients and what your relationships with them will be like.

The Hygienist Is as Important as the Dentist

Once all the big items from fillings to root canals are dealt with, oral hygiene becomes the bigger part of the game. This means going in for teeth cleanings and addressing other oral health concerns. At most practices, a separate and licensed professional, the hygienist, handles this work. They're often the person who's going to tell you about choices regarding toothbrushes, toothpastes, whiteners, and mouthwashes. They're also frequently the only person besides the dentist who gets to look at your X-rays at the practice and provide a second opinion.

Preferred Specialists

Most family dentistry practices don't handle things like braces, aligners, oral surgery, and other specialized tasks. When you talk with a family dentist, take the time to ask them which nearby professionals they prefer to refer their patients to for those items. This will give you a chance to check those practices out, too, before you make a decision.