How to Choose a Dentist
Pick a Partner
Above all, you want to choose a dentist who can be a part of your total health care team. “So much of your dental health can impact your overall health,” Dr. Taylor-Osborne says. “Look for someone who can be a coach to motivate you, a trusted advisor to turn to when health issues arise and a partner to make dental care decisions with.”
Meet and Greet
To find the right dentist, don’t be shy about calling or visiting the dentists on your list before deciding. “Schedule consultation time with the dentist to meet with the dentist and staff before making an appointment,” Dr. Taylor-Osborne says. “Make a list of questions and bring your records so the dentist can take a look at your dental history if you want to ask something more specific.” You’ll also be able to see if the office is welcoming, comfortable and neat.
Launch the Search
Now that you’re looking for a dentist, you’re probably noticing advertisements online, in the newspaper and even in your mailbox. Social media sites may also have patient reviews of dentists near you, but remember that every person’s dental health needs and experiences are their own.
Start with the Basics
Regular visits are key to a healthy smile, so start with the details that work best with your lifestyle and dental care needs. Some things to consider include
How to Find a Good Dentist
Ask People You Trust
Ask people you know and trust, like family, close friends, and co-workers. Do they have a happy, bright smile? Find out who keeps it that way! As soon as one of them begins to acclaim their dentist, get that name and number for the next step towards your most beautiful smile.
Get a Referral from a Physician or Pharmacist
Ask your family doctor or your local pharmacist. It’s a safe bet that these medical professionals have vetted out the dentists they use. Doctors and pharmacists often get feedback on dentists near them, so many times, you’ll get a great idea of the best dentists in your area using this method.
Search the Database of Your Chosen Dental Society
Compare practices from different associations such as the AADSM, ADA, AGD, etc. Here are links to dentist searches at the major associations listed above
Review Your Dental Insurance Network
Although dental insurance doesn’t necessarily need to play a part in this decision like medical insurance might, this is still one good way to find a good dentist.
Google It (Or Use a Dental Provider Review Site)
It sounds almost too simple, but reading patient recommendations will answer many questions you have, and help add to or eliminate some offices from your list. You can even start by searching “dentist near me” and sorting by the top-rated reviews.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST DENTIST
Check Up On Them
Do a background check on them. Get in touch with your State Dental Board to check the credentials of your chosen dentist.
Research the Costs
The best dentist isn’t always the cheapest one. Studying to become a dentist and the costs of running a dental practice are high. If one of your shortlisted candidates is way cheaper than the others, they could be cutting corners to save costs.
Arrange an Interview
Choosing the best dentist is an important decision, so why not interview the candidates? Even if you have to pay for a consultation, face-to-face encounters with your shortlist of dental professionals can help you to choose the best dentist for you.
Go to Google
Use technology to your advantage while searching for the best dentist near you. You can use local search on Google to pinpoint nearby practitioners. Visit their websites to check out their credentials and find out more about them. Is their website professional and up-to-date?
Ask the Right Questions
While you have the practice on the line, ask as many questions as you can about the services offered.
Finding a Dentist
You and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners; therefore, you should find someone you can be comfortable with. To find a suitable dentist to meet your needs, consider asking the following questions as a starting point:
- What are the office hours? Are they convenient for your schedule?
- Is the office easy to get to from work or home?
- Where was the dentist educated and trained?
- What’s the dentist’s approach to preventive dentistry?
- How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
- What type of anesthesia is the dentist certified to administer to help you relax and feel more comfortable during any necessary dental treatment?
- What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
- Is information provided about all fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled? If you are comparison shopping, ask for estimates on some common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, an oral exam and cleaning, and filling a cavity.
- Does the dentist participate in your dental health plan?
- What is the dentist’s office policy on missed appointments?
How to Find a Good Dentist
The first incident occurred several years ago. At the time, Vasso was a single mother and her health insurance wasn’t terribly robust, so her options of which dentist she could see were limited. “I went to this quiet, dark office in the basement of a building” in a nearby town. The office was mostly empty, save for the dentist himself, and Vasso recalls thinking, “this is scary.” Undeterred by her gut intuition, she went through with the appointment. “He cleaned my teeth and at the end he said, ‘you have a cavity. I’m going to need you to come back for a filling.’ I know my teeth. I have extensive knowledge about nutrition and how that affects dental health,” and she says she suspected she didn’t actually have a cavity.
Before she was even able to get clarification on where and how severe these cavities were, she’d been herded to the front desk to settle her bill and make several more appointments for additional dental work. Vasso decided she didn’t trust that dentist and made an appointment elsewhere for a second opinion. As suspected, that subsequent dentist confirmed she had no cavities at all, let alone six of them. “Can you imagine them drilling into my teeth for no reason? It blows my mind,” she says.