Changing Dentists: Breaking Up (Doesn’t Have to Be so) Hard to Do

Changing Dentists: Breaking Up (Doesn’t Have to Be so) Hard to Do

Look, sometimes people just have to move on. It’s true with any relationship...even the one you have with your dentist. There are a lot of legitimate reasons why you might feel as though it’s time for you and your dentist to part ways. And there’s no reason why it has to be a messy breakup. The important thing is to know when the time is right, how to take your important stuff (like your records) with you, leave the unwanted stuff (your baggage) and move on to the next practice. Who knows, the dentist of your dreams could be out there just waiting for you.

Go When the Getting Is Right.

The decision to switch dentists isn’t always an easy one. Here are few signs to let you know that now is the time to make a clean break -- and maybe even an appointment for a cleaning, at a new practice.

  • You’ve moved away from the area

  • Your dentist has retired or moved away

  • Your appointments are often at inconvenient times

  • Your current dentist is in an inconvenient location

  • You’ve had a recommendation for another dental practice and you think that they’ll be better able to meet your needs

  • Your current dentist doesn’t offer the dental procedures that you need

  • You've had more than one dispute with the billing department

  • You’ve changed your dental insurance plan

  • You don’t trust your dentist’s treatment plan

Regardless of your reason for wanting to switch dentists, there are a couple of things you need to sort out before everything is finalized.

How Can I Tell if This Dentist Is “The One?“

Once you’ve made the decision to switch dentists, you’ll need to make sure your new dentist is truly a great match. This can be a tricky process, particularly if you’ve become comfortable with your current practitioner. Here are some of the best ways to screen your potential choices to make sure a dentist is perfect for your needs:

  • Ask for a recommendation from friends or family. The people who know you best can be a great source of advice when it comes to helping to make sure your choice is a dentist who is perfectly suited for your needs.

  • Double check your insurance policy before you make the switch, to make sure your dentist is covered by your plan.

  • Check out online reviews, not just to discover the certifications and specializations of a particular dentist, but also what they’re like as a person.

  • If you’re switching the entire family over, make sure that the dental needs of everybody will be catered to. If you have young children, for instance, it’s probably a good idea to find a dentist who’s accommodating for kids, while those with teenagers may be well served by a dental office that offers orthodontic procedures.

  • Schedule a visit and see for yourself. The only way you’re really going to know whether a new dentist is right for you is by paying them a visit. Take note of crucial things such as the practice’s distance from your home, the dentist’s chairside manner. Ask for a tour of the facilities and make sure that everything is as you’d expect it to be.

I Want to Take My (Dental) Records With Me.

Vinyl Records

Okay, so while it’s not as rough as splitting up you and an ex’s belongings, starting over with a new dentist can be difficult. One way to make the process easier is by transferring your records so that your new dentist has a sense of your dental history. Thankfully, it’s also one of the easiest elements of the whole process.

All you need to do is call your dental office and ask them to transfer the records. This is also a good time to let them know that you’ve decided to switch dentists. You may be required to pay a fee. This fee covers copies, supplies, postage and labor. In addition, increasing numbers of dental offices have computerized or automated records systems, which makes the whole process easier. Although dental offices will often keep records for several years after a patient has moved on, it’s always a good idea to transfer the records as soon as you can.

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