In this day and age, we have so many more options to choose from for our medical professionals. It’s important to all of us to find doctors and dentists that we can trust and build a relationship with; however, it can often be a difficult task choosing the right one. Nobody wants to jump around from dentist to dentist until they find a good fit! There are a few steps you can take, and questions you can ask, to ensure you are signing on with a dentist that is right for you.

Ask Around

When it comes to finding a new dentist, the best place to start is with word of mouth. If you have friends and family in the area, hopefully one or two of them can give you the name of their dentist – that is, of course, if they like theirs! Asking co-workers is always a great idea, especially if they have the same insurance provider as you.

If you are moving to a new area, consider asking your current dentist if he or she knows anyone in your new location to recommend to you. In addition, check with your current physician, doctor, or pharmacist for other local recommendations.

Inquire about Location, Hours, Cost, and Insurance

These are going to be some of the most important considerations when you do choose your new dentist; however, you should by no means give up other important factors such as cleanliness and patient care just for a good location. In any case, location, hours, cost, and insurance are the crucial things to start with when beginning your search. Verify that your top picks take your dental insurance, and costs outside of insurance should be competitive. Move along if a dental practice is too far away or has unreasonable hours, keeping in mind that dental emergencies can happen at any time of day.

Find Out What the Office Does After Hours

Speaking of emergencies, it’s a great idea to ask the question, “What happens if I have a dental emergency when your office is closed?” If the dental practice’s representative gives you an answer that you are uncomfortable with, it’s best to consider that another deal breaker. A good dentist’s practice will have someone for you to call at any time, either your own dentist or a proper substitute, rather than referring you to an emergency room.

Check for Qualifications

As you are going through your initial search and narrowing down your selections, be sure to check out their licensing and professional qualifications. To do this, you can check your state’s dental website to view licensing boards, or simply visit The American Dental Association’s Website.

Visit the Office

After the above steps have been taken, you probably will have your list of dentists narrowed down to your top picks. At this point, you can begin visiting some of these dental practices to see which one is perfect for you. It’s very important to get a feel for the environment, while taking in how comfortable the patients in the waiting room seem. Take a look around the waiting room, office, and even patient’s rooms if you are able, to ensure that everything seems orderly and clean – check for sanitary gloves and protective gear!

Whether or not you schedule a time to meet with a representative of the practice, you should have a few more considerations to help you decide.

  • What is their policy on missed appointments and rescheduling?
  • What is the dentist’s practice on preventive dentistry?
  • How clean and current does the equipment seem?
  • What estimates are available on procedures, such as cleaning, cavity filling, exams, and X-rays?

Hopefully, you’ll get a good idea of how the dental practice runs just by speaking with a staff member or the dentist. Receiving courteous and helpful answers is always a very positive sign. As you visit each practice, just remember that you are looking for a very personal service, and the building of a dental relationship that will last for years to come.