Looking for a dentist does not need to be difficult, but there are a few things to bear in mind. As you look, consider both your dental needs and your personal requirements and desires, since selecting a dentist is actually one of the more intimate choices you make. It’s not like choosing a plumber or auto mechanic.
Things to consider when looking for a dentist
In Canada the dental industry is well-regulated and dentists can be trusted to be professional, trained, and certified. While requirements for certification and licensure vary from province to province, you can be confident that the standard of care is very high nation-wide. If you are moving to Etobicoke from outside Ontario, this is good to know.
It’s not unusual for a dentist to feature certificates of accreditation and education in their workplaces, and you may refer to these. If your dental needs are specialized, you will want to investigate a dentist’s ability to meet those needs. The recognized dental specialties in Ontario are:
- Dental Anesthesia
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Oral Pathology
- Oral Radiology
- Oral Medicine
- Pediatric Dentistry
- Public Health Dentistry
That said, most dentists tend to be generalists and are capable of meeting most people’s needs. Style of dental practice also matters: look at the potential dentist’s approach to dentisty, attitude to using antibiotics and drugs, and attitude to innovative technologies. Duration in the practice should not weigh heavily in your decision making as it is not a reliable indicator of dental suitability.
Looking online will quickly provide many options. Like the Sherway Gardens Dental Centre, many dental clinics have web sites that describe their services and business details. Sometimes reviews of dentists can be found online; it is best to take these with a grain of salt, as they can be inaccurate or biased.
The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario offers a search tool that provides listings of dentists, searchable by city and speciality. It can be a good place to start.
Other tools for your search
Recommendations matter, and people who know you can often give valuable insights based on their own experiences with dentists in the area. Friends, family, and co-workers can be very helpful.
Referrals from one dentist to another are also possible. If your dentist is retiring or moving, they might be able to help in your search for a new one; similarly, if you have developed a specialized dental need, your dentist is a likely guide to the specialist you seek.
Looking beyond the dental
Your choice of dentist is ultimately a personal choice. Considerations beyond the strictly dental therefore are an important part of the decision.
You will want to also consider such things as language, culture, community, and convenience. Do you care whether your dentist speaks your language of preference? Communication is obviously important, but beyond basic communication many people find the greatest comfort in speaking with a dentist in the language in which they are most fluent. Culture is also important: again, as a matter of comfort, many people will prefer a dentist you understands their cultural priorities and assumptions.
Community participation matters to those who like to support local businesses, and they may seek out businesses that are involved with their communities. Some dentists visibly participate in community activities, sponsoring junior sports teams or supporting community initiatives to appeal to community-minded customers or to follow their own community interests.
Convenience is also a consideration: is the dentist’s office easy to reach? Does it offer parking, or easy connnection to public transit? For those with mobility issues, is the office wheelchair accessible? Are its hours of operation compatible with your needs? Are payment options suited to your needs? Will the dentist take children?
Looking for a new dentist is something we don’t end up doing often, generally speaking. However, as people move and situations change, occasional searches for a dentist are inevitable. The search does not need to be long or difficult.
One final tip: do your search for a dentist when you can take the time to look at your options. Don’t make a dental emergency the start of your search efforts!
Choosing a dentist in Etobicoke? Contact the Sherway Gardens Dental Centre for a free initial consultation.