If you’re searching for an oral surgeon in Houston on your own, the sheer number of choices may seem overwhelming. If your general dentist or physician recommends oral surgery, you may be tempted to schedule an appointment at whatever practice they refer you to, and typically, your dentist won’t lead you astray. However, we always advise patients to do some of their own research, too. After all, selecting an oral surgeon to perform advanced procedures should be 100% your choice. If you need an oral surgeon in Houston, you want to trust your smile to the best, but it’s not always an easy decision to make. Make sure you’ve found the right oral surgeon for you by keeping the following seven tips in mind and contact the Piney Point Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery team if you want to learn more about our Houston oral surgeons.
#1 – Ask Your Dentist for a Recommendation
It’s a good idea to listen to your dentist, as they’ve likely seen firsthand the results of the oral surgeon they’re recommending. If your general dentist gives you a list of several oral and maxillofacial surgeons to choose from, you may need a little help making the best decision. Even if your dentist recommends just one oral surgeon, you can still do your own research first and then consult your dentist to find out if he or she knows anything about your chosen oral surgeon.
Before scheduling an appointment with a specialist based solely on your dentist’s recommendation, we encourage you to at least ask your dentist the following questions:
- Why do you recommend the oral and maxillofacial surgeon?
- What are their specialty treatment areas?
- Do they accept my insurance and offer financing options?
- Are there alternative oral surgery practices you would also recommend?
#2 – Read Reviews
Next, see if anyone close to you has had a wonderful experience with an oral surgeon. What did they like about their experience? Is the procedure you require similar to theirs? Hearing about a great (or not-so-great) experience firsthand is very helpful, but online reviews are also a big help. Check to see what current and past patients are saying about your Houston oral surgeon but remember that patients are usually only inspired to leave a review after a particularly good or bad experience, which means you’re getting a skewed perception. If there are negative reviews, take note of them, but you should also consider how the oral surgeon responds to the review and whether or not the comments were about the care received or something else (they didn’t take my insurance, I didn’t like the person at the front desk, etc.). Don’t let a single bad review sway your opinion any more than just one glowing review. Instead, make a decision based on the overall consensus.
Keep in mind that, in addition to getting general information about a specialist through online reviews, you can also get access to information about their insurance and financing policies, find out if their peers and colleagues respect their abilities, and discover whether or not they partner with local hospitals and emergency rooms.
#3 – Surgeon’s Education, Specialty Training & Dedication to Continuous Learning
All oral surgeons have completed the necessary training to perform oral surgery, so you might say what sets an excellent surgeon apart from the rest is the amount of experience he or she has. Make sure your chosen doctor has performed your surgery many times before because even a surgeon with 30 years of experience may never have performed the procedure you need. You can usually find out about the doctor’s background on their “About Me” or bio page, or you can simply call the practice directly to inquire about their experience.
You may also want to look for an oral surgeon who demonstrates an interest in growing in their field. Look on their website to see if they’re a member of any professional organizations. When an oral and maxillofacial surgeon maintains membership in groups like the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, they have opportunities for professional development and networking with oral surgeons across the country. Awards, diplomate or fellowship status, and published research are also good indicators that an oral and maxillofacial surgeon cares about the growing in the field and maintaining the necessary training to perform any procedure with minimal risk.
Finally, look into continuing education credits and technological advancement. If the specialist is committed to incorporating the latest techniques and technologies into the office, the odds are good they will be up-to-date on the best treatment options to address your surgical need.
#4 – Ask to See Samples
Many oral surgeons have photos of their work, testimonial videos from patients, case studies, and other resources available to show you exactly the level of quality they can provide. In this case, a picture may really be worth 1,000 words, so don’t forget to ask to see samples of their work.
#5 – Dental Insurance & Financing Options Available
Another important thing to check for when choosing an oral surgeon is whether or not they accept your dental and/or medical insurance. You can usually find this information on your insurance provider’s website, or by calling the oral and maxillofacial surgery office directly. Even if your general dentist recommends a specific oral and maxillofacial surgeon, you should still double check to see if they are in-network with your dental and medical insurance plans. Determining whether or not an oral surgery office is in-network with your insurance plans is not the most exciting way to spend a morning, but it’s worth it to find an excellent surgeon who accepts your insurance!
If you don’t have insurance, you may want to check into third-party and other financing options or treatment specials available from the oral and maxillofacial surgeon to make paying for oral surgery as stress-free and convenient as possible.
#6 – Surgical Practice Convenience
You should also check to make sure the practice is convenient for you and your schedule. Some questions to ask include:
- Where is the practice located? Is it near your home or office or on the other side of town?
- How’s parking? Do you have to pay to park and still walk a mile to the office?
- Are they open when you need them to be? Do they offer a range of treatment times or are they only open one day a week?
- Is the oral and maxillofacial surgeon on-call in case of emergency?
- Will they be there for you when you need them?
- Is the practice accommodating? This may include asking are there “perks” or “amenities,” but it may also mean asking for more practical needs like do they have handicap accessible parking and entries?
#7 – Available Services
These days, medical professionals of all stripes have websites that list their specific services. You can get started by searching online for the exact surgery that you need in order to find an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Houston who specializes in that treatment. After all, surgical tooth extraction is very different from a procedure to fix a broken jaw, so finding an oral and maxillofacial surgeon with experience performing a specific procedure is essential.
What to Ask When You Call the Oral Surgeon
Once you have settled on one or two oral surgeons you would trust to perform your procedure, take some time to get to know them and their staff. Write down a list of questions to ask in an introductory appointment or phone call in order to get a feel for whether or not they’re the right team for you. Some things you may want to ask when you call the oral surgeon include:
- How long have you been practicing?
- What are your specialties?
- What technology do you use to keep me safe and maximize efficiency?
- What could happen if I don’t get the surgery?
- What makes you best oral surgeon to perform the procedure?