FEBRUARY 12, 2024 – Going to the dentist is rarely anyone’s idea of fun. In fact, some people even experience feelings of intense fear any time the mention of a dental visit is brought up. While seeking therapy for your aversion to dentists may be a little extreme, you still need to get over your phobia.
Have you considered finding a dentist in Houston you’ll actually want to visit? This doesn’t necessarily mean becoming best friends with your dentist. Instead, look for a practice that meets your needs in an environment that doesn’t set off your alarm bells. So, what should you look for in a Houston-based dentist? Keep reading to learn more.
How Often Should You Visit the Dentist
Pretty much everyone knows dental visits are up there with annual checkups in terms of importance. The health of your teeth and gums is paramount for more than a great smile. The condition of your teeth and gums can affect your overall health. So, how often should you make a dentist appointment?
According to the American Dental Association or ADA, you should make an appointment twice a year or every six months. However, everyone’s smile is different. You may need to go in more or less frequently. You should at least plan on seeing your dentist once a year.
A good way to remember is to schedule your dental appointment when you make the call for your annual physical—this way, you can get everything taken care of at once.
How to Choose a Dentist
There’s no shortage of private and chain dental practices in Houston. Just drive down any street like FM 1960 or Jones Rd and you’ll see plenty of dental practices encouraging you to stop in for an oral exam.
While you can pull into a random dentist’s office, some clinics happily take walk-in patients, it’s usually best to do a little research before letting a dentist start poking around in your mouth.
Check Types of Accepted Insurance
If you have dental insurance, congratulations! Going to the dentist will be significantly cheaper. However, before you call to schedule a visit, make sure the dental practice accepts your type of insurance. Not all plans are accepted by every dentist, especially when it comes to Medicare coverage. Some practices specialize in Medicare clients and others prefer to stick with more traditional types of insurance.
Not everyone has dental coverage, even with Medicare. If this applies to you, check pricing and payment options. You may need to choose a dentist who offers flexible payment options.
Check Office Hours
Dental practices are becoming more flexible with their hours. Some are still keeping strict 9 to 5 hours and are closed on the weekends. Chances are this isn’t going to fit your busy schedule. After all, it’s pretty easy to keep putting off your dentist appointment if it means missing work.
Look for a dentist that’s open after 5 p.m., If you want to avoid Houston’s notoriously bad evening rush traffic, consider choosing a dentist with weekend hours. You shouldn’t have an issue finding one open at least part of the day on Saturdays. They may only be open until noon, but it’s better than having to deal with 5 p.m. weekday traffic.
Location is Key
Houston is a huge city and this is before you consider the sprawling metro area. Don’t forget about unincorporated Harris County. While not technically a part of Houston, in a way it’s still part of the Bayous City. This means looking for a dentist in your area. The last thing you want to do is have a dentist in Pearland when you live in The Heights. You can spend close to an hour just getting to the dentist, even without rush hour traffic.
Experience and Qualifications
You know your dentist is licensed if they’re operating a clinic in Houston. This also means they have a degree. But what about experience and qualifications? There are different types of dentists, just like in the medical field. Some dentists specialize in younger patients while others focus primarily on adults.
Along with making sure your dentist is qualified to meet your unique oral health needs, find out about their experience. This can go a long way towards lessening your anxiety about your upcoming visit. Look for a dentist with experience, especially in dealing with nervous patients.
Protect Your Smile and Overall Health
Your smile, serving as a pivotal aspect of first impressions, plays a significant role in your social interactions and how others perceive you, underscoring the importance of maintaining your health and appearance. Regular dental appointments are not just the best but are essential in ensuring your oral hygiene is up to par, preventing dental issues before they arise, and keeping your smile radiant.
These appointments provide a professional cleaning that surpasses daily brushing and flossing, along with the opportunity for early detection of potential problems, thereby safeguarding not only the aesthetics of your smile but also your overall dental health.