According to recent research, nearly 85% of Americans between the ages of 2 and 17 visit the dentist every year, along with 64% of adults aged 18 to 64.
Are you looking for a dental home in the Treasure Valley area?
If so, it pays to do your research. After all, your dental health is intrinsically linked to your general health, and you need a team you can trust. Whether you’re coming in for a routine cleaning or an emergency visit, you should feel assured that you’re in solid hands.
Today, we’re sharing 10 tips to help you identify the best Boise dentist in this region. Read on to discover how to find a reputable, well-reviewed local office that makes you feel comfortable as soon as you enter.
Why Does Your Dental Team Matter?
There are myriad reasons why you might be on the search for a new dentist.
Perhaps you’re new to the Boise area and still learning your way around our city. Or, maybe you’re a long-time resident whose employer just switched insurance plans, and you need to find someone in your new network.
Or, maybe you’ve gone so long without a preventative visit that you’ve never established a true dental home for yourself or your family.
In any case, the good news is that you have plenty of options. The Treasure Valley region is replete with top-notch dental teams, all offering a wide range of services.
Why should you take the time to narrow down your list and focus on the top-performing teams? The short answer is that your dentist does much more than simply clean your teeth or fill your cavities.
Your oral health is a direct line to your overall health, and your dentist plays a critical role in identifying and reversing any issues that could affect both.
Along with oral bacteria, the inflammation triggered by severe gum disease (periodontitis) can increase your risk of developing a host of health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, and pneumonia. Choosing a dentist off-the-cuff could lead to inadequate care that leaves you more susceptible to such ailments.
That said, how can you find the best dentist in Boise? The key is to ask the right questions and take a step-by-step approach. Soon, you’ll find the ideal team and establish a great relationship that can last for years.
Next, let’s take a look at 10 key steps to take as you do your homework and start your search.
- Check on Dental Insurance Coverage
It might not be a top requirement for all families, but it helps to make sure you’re focusing your efforts on a dentist that is within the network or coverage area determined by your insurance carrier.
If you’re unsure which providers are within your network, your health insurer’s website should have an online search tool that can help you narrow down your options in a few clicks. You should also be able to obtain a similar list from your employer.
At this juncture, you might be asking, “What if I don’t have any dental insurance?” Don’t let that prevent you from seeking out the best team around!
While dental insurance can help minimize some of the costs associated with general dentistry, it does not work in exactly the same way that health insurance does. For instance, most health insurance plans will cover a majority of your medical expenses after you meet your pre-determined deductible.
On the other hand, if you require a “major service” at the dentist, your dental insurance will normally pay a smaller portion of that cost. In addition, dental insurance providers set annual maximums on your coverage, meaning that the company could cease reimbursement for your care after you reach a certain dollar amount.
At Boise Family Dental Care, we make it easy to afford your appointment, even if you don’t have dental insurance. The options we provide include:
- The Boise Family Dental Care Discount Plan
- Staggered treatment options
- Financing and payment options
If you do have insurance coverage, it’s worth conducting the search to learn about the providers in your area. While this doesn’t have to be a make-or-break step, it’s still a smart place to start, especially if you are overwhelmed by all of your local choices.
- Look For Licensure and Industry Accreditations
Make sure that any dentist you choose has an active and up-to-date license from the American Dental Association (ADA). You can contact your local state boards to inquire on the status of someone’s license if you are unsure. The Idaho Board of Dentistry provides a free License and Permit Search function that allows you to complete this step in seconds.
While a license is required to perform work, participation in industry associations and organizations is voluntary. Yet, these credentials can help point you in the direction of a qualified and experienced professional.
Membership into elite dental industry organizations can demonstrate a dentist’s knowledge and industry standing. While researching prospective providers, check to see if any are members of the following:
- Idaho State Dental Association (ISDA)
- American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM)
- American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH)
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD)
- Academy of General Dentistry
Of course, your dentist doesn’t have to belong to all of these professional affiliations or associations. Yet, it speaks volumes about a team’s motivations if they are linked to such prestigious groups. Memberships into these associations require a commitment of both time and money, so they’re reserved for top-of-class teams that care about their community and are dedicated to performing at the top of their talent.
These accreditations also reveal a dentist’s dedication to ongoing, continuous education. To maintain membership, many will require that professionals complete a certain number of training hours each year. Remaining a good-standing member means that they’re adept in the latest trends and innovations in both dental science and technology.
Many providers will have these accreditation’s listed directly on their website. If you do not see any, feel free to inquire about any memberships the practice has obtained.
- Ask For Recommendations
If you’re looking for a new Boise dentist, try asking your friends and family members first. Or, you can hop online and ask your social media followers if they can recommend anyone local.
If they love their dentist, where do they currently go? What makes their dental team top-notch and why do they recommend them? For some, the personality of their dentist is most important, while others prioritize short wait times or high-end, modern equipment.
If they’re also looking for a new dental home, what are some of their top pain points with their current team?
Sometimes, asking your small circle for advice will provide you with all of the information you need. If you’re still coming up short, try expanding your search to those outside of your immediate network.
Today, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family members. If you already have a list of dentists started, head to their websites and see what others are saying about them.
Most reliable dentists will have an entire webpage set aside for testimonials from past and current clients. Here, you can read firsthand accounts from others and learn more about how the team members interact with their patients. You can also check the practice’s listing on online business directories, such as Google My Business.
As you peruse the feedback, keep in mind that while it can help influence your final decision, it shouldn’t fully direct it. A dentist can be well-liked without being at the the top of their craft. Still, most dentists will go above and beyond to ensure an excellent patient experience, and this will show in the reviews and testimonials.
- Understand the Area of Focus
Almost every dental practice you visit should be able to provide a range of general and preventative services, including cleanings, cavity fillings, wisdom teeth removals, and more.
Yet, there are some teams that specialize in other services in addition to these. For instance, our office also provides the following dental services:
- Cosmetic dentistry
- Pediatric dentistry
- Emergency dentistry
Consider both your short-term and long-term dental needs. Does the office you’re eyeing have the capabilities to meet them? Or, will you be forced to see a separate dental specialist to take care of the full spectrum of services you require?
Some practices are very family-focused and appropriate for all ages, while others strictly specialize in advanced treatments for adults. Then, there are some that invest in top-of-the-line tools and technologies, while others stick to the basics. Take the time to understand the features and offerings that are most important to you and make sure any dental team you choose can provide them in full.
- Visit the Office
One of the best ways to get a true feel for how the dental practice operates? Visit the office yourself!
Most providers are happy to show you around the facility, introduce you to the team members and answer any questions you might have. This gives you the chance to learn more about each option, as well as discern their overall level of cleanliness and attention to detail.
As a general rule, avoid offices that appear unkempt. Sanitation isn’t a nice-to-have feature when you’re interviewing potential dentists. It’s imperative, and here’s why: This is the same team that will be responsible for overseeing your oral health, and they must keep a neat and clean workspace.
In addition to keeping their work area up to par, take a close look at how the dentists and hygienists are attired. Professional teams will be suited up in gloves, masks and gowns. Some might wear scrubs.
You should feel confident that your health and wellness are a top concern to them and they have the proper cleaning protocols in place to keep you feeling and looking your best.
In addition to physical appearance, assess the overall vibe and atmosphere that the office exudes.
Are the front office staff members friendly and informed? Or, are they more technical and reserved? Can they introduce you to the right team members and help you get acclimated? Or, do they seem uninterested and bored?
Remember: When you select a practice, you don’t interact with the dentist only. Rather, you’ll meet and spend time with almost everyone in the office. That’s why it’s important to ensure a good rapport between your family and the dental family.
- Ask Plenty of Questions
Choosing a dentist for your family is an important step and one that you shouldn’t take lightly. Knowing this, you should feel free to call or visit the ones on your short list and ask as many questions as you need to ask.
While the office might be busy and pressed for time, no one should be too hurried to sit down and walk you through the answers you’re seeking. For instance, you might need clarification on payment plans, or want to learn more about a specific dental treatment, such as cosmetic veneers.
It goes without saying that these treatments can be a major investment. You should have questions before investing in them. If there’s any ambiguity over any detail, you should be free to keep inquiring until you’re satisfied with the response. A few of the most common questions that patients can ask their dentists include:
- Are you accepting new patients?
- Do you treat patients with special conditions?
- What are your areas of specialty?
- How long have you been in practice?
- Do you use any dental sedation techniques to calm anxious patients?
- Do you take x-rays as required?
- What kind of technology does your team use?
- Can you provide me with a list of references?
If you’re brushed aside or put on hold for half an hour, consider what that says about the office’s customer service focus. Any team member you speak to should be well-versed in the types of treatments their office offers, including the benefits and drawbacks of each. They should also be able to explain the pros and cons of each, as well as the ones they’d recommend for your specific case.
Steer clear of any dentist who appears to be upselling you on a service you don’t need. Likewise, consider it a red flag if a dentist can’t explain why you need one treatment over another.
- Inspect the Dental Equipment
While you’re visiting the office, ask about the dental equipment that the team members use. Is it current, modern and up to code? A great dentist doesn’t necessarily need to have all of the most expensive tech gear available, but they should display a future-focused commitment to staying competitive and cutting-edge.
From the drills and tools to the chairs, consider the age and aptitude of the machinery around you. Everything should be in great condition without looking worn out or outdated. As you tour, keep in mind that due to its repetitive use, dental equipment wears down quickly and needs to be replaced on a regular basis.
If you’re seeing materials that appear to be decades old, this could be a sign that the office isn’t investing in the resources required to provide customers with the latest standards of care.
One key example is digital x-rays. Known to provide a substantial amount less radiation than their traditional counterparts, these machines have been around for decades and should be installed in any office you visit. If one dentist hasn’t made the switch to digital yet, continue your search until you find one who has.
If they’re hesitant to spend money on these necessary upgrades, they could be making sacrifices and cutting corners in other areas, too.
- Ask About Emergency Services
Ever year, around two million people visit the ER for a nontraumatic dental-related emergency. In all, this represents around 1.5% of all ER visits.
Before you choose a Boise dentist, ask about their abilities to provide on-call emergency services as required. Rather than waiting in pain in the ER room, you should be able to call your dentist and get the care you need in minutes.
From persistent toothaches to knocked-out teeth and lost fillings, our team can take care of what’s bothering you and help restore your beautiful smile. Dental emergencies are often very time-sensitive and require quick action. Thankfully, we know what tools to use and can respond to your request in a respectful and time-sensitive manner.
In addition to helping you secure temporary relief, we’ll also get to the bottom of any issue at hand, so we can treat it in real time and proactively prevent it occurring in the future. For instance, if you come in with a severe toothache, we will perform an examination to determine if the culprit is a chipped tooth, cracked tooth, broken filling or any other ailment.
- Look For a Community Focus
Across the Treasure Valley area, there are businesses and organizations dedicated to giving back to our local region.
As an integral part of the Boise community, our team has a strong focus on giving back.
In addition to supporting efforts such as Toys for Tots and the ADA’s Give Kids a Smile campaign, we also created our own charitable initiative in 2015 titled “Sharing Healthy Smiles”.
This effort focused on the same goal: To provide local residents access to expert dental care, free of charge. Each week for 13 weeks, we selected a local winner to receive a free cleaning, exam and x-rays. Then, we entered each of these weekly winners into a grand prize giveaway, and the big winner received up to $35,000 in necessary dental services.
Efforts like these demonstrate how deeply rooted our team is in this city. As you select a dental office, look for one that shares a similar focus. While they don’t need to be active participants in every single project in town, they should be willing to reach out, give back, and extend their services to those in need.
- Inquire On Financing and Payment Options
According to one poll, around 40% of Americans don’t visit their dentist for regular cleanings or preventative care. Of these, nearly 70% said they skipped the visits because they couldn’t afford them.
Especially if you need an advanced treatment or service, your dental appointment can require a significant financial investment. Today, most dental offices will provide financing and payment options that make it more affordable to receive the care you need.
At Boise Family Dental Care, we offer a variety of solutions that can help make your visit as cost-effective as possible.
For instance, we allow you to pay in multiple different ways, including:
- Credit card
- Debit card
In addition, we also encourage patients to sign up for the Care Credit card to cover expenses that are not covered by their dental insurance. While this step requires a credit check, it can be an incredibly valuable resource. For example, one of the top benefits of Care Credit is that it includes 0% interest for 6, 12, 18 or 24 months.
Visit Our Boise Dental Office Today
In your quest to find a new dental home, you’ll likely encounter plenty of options along the way. While there are many providers in the Treasure Valley area, you need to find the team that’s the best fit for your family’s needs.
At Boise Family Dental Care, we are dedicated to ensuring our patients’ satisfaction at every turn. Dr. Crump and his exceptional dental team go the extra mile to make sure everyone who visits the office is comfortable and confident that they’re receiving the best care possible. To learn more about the services we provide or to schedule a visit, contact us today! This next step is an important one, so let’s take it together.