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How to Select a Great Dentist

Maybe you’ve moved, switched jobs and you’re looking for a new dentist. Perhaps you don’t have a dentist or you simply want to try something new. While we hope you’ll choose us, here are some tips to help you find a perfect match:

  • If your search is due to a move, ask your current dentist for a referral. They might know somebody or have a colleague in the area.
  • Ask your friends, family or co-workers. It’s highly likely that one of them has a great dentist they can recommend.
  • Ask your medical doctor or a pharmacist. Ask them who they see or who they would choose if they were you.

Once you’ve found a few promising candidates, it’s time to check their online presence:

  • Visit their website. Do they reveal their patient care philosophy and volunteer information about themselves, their training and practice history?
  • Check out their social media sites. Look for authentic patient reviews. Don’t be dissuaded by an occasional less-than-glowing review. Everyone’s dental health and expectations are different.
  • Visit your state’s or national dental association’s website. Member dentists must usually take a pledge to put your health and well-being first and to treat you ethically and honorably.

Now that you have several prospects, it’s time to dig a little deeper:

  • Is the practice easy to get to? Is it near your home or workplace?
  • Are their practice hours convenient? Will you need early morning, evening or Saturday appointments?
  • If you have dental insurance benefits, do they accept your policy? If not, what is their schedule of fees? Are they competitive?
  • Will you need translation or interpreter services? If so, is someone on his or her team fluent in your primary language?
  • When anesthesia is necessary to help you relax and feel more comfortable, what type(s) do they offer?
  • Are they committed to preventive dentistry? Will the dentist explain ways to help you avoid common dental health problems?
  • Do they have a missed-appointments policy? What type of notice to they require?
  • How do they respond to after-hour emergencies? Are they able to field such requests or do they have agreements with a colleague or an emergency service?
  • Ask them about their typical fees. Ask for estimates on some of the more common procedures. Their price for full-mouth X-rays, an oral exam and cleaning, and filling a cavity can give you a general guideline.

Your Internet search and telephone interviews should narrow the field. Then, to be thorough, consider visiting the practices of your top picks. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • If you’ll be driving, is there plenty of parking? It is easily accessible? Are they near public transportation options?
  • Are the dentist and hygienist willing to meet you for a no-obligation consultation? Do you feel a connection? Do your personalities mesh?
  • Does the dental staff courteously answer your questions? Do they volunteer information? Are they enthusiastic about the practice? These can be important clues.
  • Is the practice neat, clean and orderly? Do the reception area and work areas appear clean and organized?
  • Do the furnishings and equipment appear up-to-date? Do they seem to be keeping up with the latest innovations and procedures?

The result of this methodical approach is most likely to yield a great fit. Be sure to share your previous dental experiences or any concerns or apprehensions you may have.

After such a rigorous selection process, there’s only one thing left to do: follow your dentist’s recommendations!

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