Oral & Vision Health Blog

Handling your New Patient Dental Appointment like a Boss

Going on your first date with someone can be a bit nerve-wracking. You’re self-conscious about how you look, how you communicate and a host of other things. You also have to transition from being self-conscious to objectively sizing up your date to determine if he or she is a good fit. Going in for a new patient dental appointment can be stressful as well. Will they like you? Will you like the staff, the dentist or the actual office? Are they a good fit for you? Here are some tips on handling your new patient dental appointment like a boss.

Before you arrive...

  1. Obtain a copy of your identification card from your insurance company.

    If you won’t get it in time for your appointment, log-in to your insurance company’s web portal and print a temporary ID. You can also call your carrier and get the information you need for your appointment.

  2. Request your Schedule of Benefits or Plan Benefits document from your insurance company.

    Why? This lists the procedures covered on your plan and the fixed cost or the percentage you are supposed to pay for each covered procedure. This way, if you’re told you need a simple extraction and that it costs $150, you simply need to compare that price to what’s in your benefit plan. They should be the same. If they’re not, contact your insurance for assistance.

  3. Arrive Early

    New patients have a ton of paperwork to fill out. Get there a half hour earlier so you can
    get that out of the way before your actual appointment time.

  4. Check out the Office

    Is it clean? Is it organized? Or does the office look it should be featured on an episode of Hoarders.

  5. Observe the staff’s communication with each other, with patients in the office and those on the phone.

    Are they courteous and helpful or rude and abrupt?

During your appointment... 

  • Observe the chair-side manners of the staff and dentist.
  • Is he or she gentle or rough with patients
  • Take note of the condition of the equipment they are using?
  • Are they clean and in good condition, or do they resemble relics from the Middle Ages? 
  • Carefully watch to see if the dental office is observing basic safety procedures such as:

Using sterile equipment

Washing their hands

Wearing gloves and masks

After your oral evaluation...

  1. Does the office provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan?

    The exam gives you and the dentist a complete picture of what’s going on in your mouth. It also helps the dentist make recommendations to improve your oral health
  2. Does the office discuss your treatment plan with you or set up time to do so? 
  3. Warning: Do not get any work done on your first appointment, unless it’s an emergency because: 
  4. You need time to review your treatment plan and compare the prices listed on it with what’s
        on your Schedule of Benefits.
  5. If the office lists prices that are different from your plan benefits, it’s important that you contact the insurance company to get clarification. Many times, they will contact the dental
        office to make sure they have the correct plan information for you. 

With these tips, you have a step by step guide on what to do before, during and after your new patient appointment. Following these steps will help to carefully evaluate this potential dental health partner and decide if they are right for you. You will also avoid painful and expensive mistakes. 

Download your free   Dental Treatment Plan  Tip Sheet