Well, this is it: it’s time to send your student off to school. If you are the parent of a Boston-area college student: congratulations! If you’re an undergraduate student moving to Boston for the first time: welcome! We know there are a lot of checklists and need-to-know items out there, and maybe dentistry isn’t high on your list. However, having a game plan for when you arrive is essential so that way your teeth stay healthy while you’re here and there are no painfully unexpected surprises! Here are a few things to think about when searching for a dentist in your new college town.

Be sure to check on your university’s medical offerings

Registering for college comes with a whole lot of paperwork, and the medial forms are some of the most important. Many universities in our area offer medial insurance options and may even have significant infrastructure for the healthcare needs of the student body. Others may offer plans and ask students to work within a network of doctors to get their care. Some families may find it preferable to keep a student on their parent’s insurance policy based on geography, availability and offerings.  Either way, know what your university offers and be sure to pay careful attention to dental plan offerings as well.

Many local dental offices, including ours, participate in the Basix Dental Savings Program, which offers discounts for dental care to local students. Basix is a discount plan, not an insurance plan, so be sure to read over all offers available to you. Many local universities offer Basix to their students, including Northeastern, Boston College and the Berkeley College of Music.

Should my student just see our family dentist when they’re home on break?

It’s understandable that some families may prefer to have their student wait until returning home on break for doctor/dental visits. However, it’s preferable to have a practitioner in the area so that a student has more flexibility for managing their own health needs and can establish a relationship with a dental professional just in case an emergency should arise. Follow-up with the local practitioner in their hometown might be recommended, but it’s good practice to establish a regular schedule with a dental professional here in the area.

Should my student bring their dental records with them to Boston?

The short answer is: no. Nowadays, many medical records can be sent digitally. If records are required by the new dentist, they can get in contact with the practitioner in your home town and have the records sent over. Have your student pay attention to requirements for sharing of such records. Depending on the age of the student, parental permission may be required.

How do I find a good private practice for my student who is moving to Boston?

Google and Yelp are great places to start, but be sure to have your student ask around themselves: Professors, fellow students who have been in Boston for a while, the university health center, and even the health insurance company are great places to get reviews and guidance on the right sort of practice for your student’s needs. It’s better to do this now, while there isn’t any emergency or other pressure, so that way a plan can snap into action should the unexpected arise during the school year.

A new school year in a new town means a million new opportunities. We know that dental insurance and dental care isn’t the most exciting part of this new chapter, but it’s still an important one. A little bit of homework and a couple of phone calls is all it takes to establish an important connection that will be vital to the oral health of your Boston-area student.

Looking for a convenient, student-friendly periodontal and endodontic practice in the Boston area? O’Trafford Dental is conveniently located near public transportation in the heart of Boston. We’re delighted to work with parents and inform them of any treatment a student might need, and we help with needs common for students like extraction of wisdom teeth. Give us a call to learn more about our offerings!

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