Things to Look for When Choosing a Dentist

Need a new dentist? Maybe you’ve moved or your old dentist has retired. Maybe you’ve had a concern arise with your existing dentist. Whatever the reason, its important to choose wisely: You only get one adult set of teeth!

Some choose a dentist based on demeanor alone or based on discount coupons or introductory free cleanings, etc. While those can be nice perks, there is much more to selecting a good dentist with whom you will be happy. Think of it like choosing a physician. You don’t want someone poking around the first thing most people see when meeting you - your smile - because they were the cheapest!

So, here is a list of some questions to ask yourself – and your potential new dentist. It’s not exhaustive, but for the scope of this article, it’s a great start.

Questions to Sink Your Teeth Into

Here are a few key questions to ask not only yourself, but the dentist whom you are considering to treat your or your family’s pearly whites:

  • Is the dentist in the ADA? - The American Dental Association, or ADA, helps keep members up to date on the latest in new dental techniques, as well as other issues affecting the profession, like matters of insurance and governmental regulations. According to the ADA, seven out of ten dentists are members. While the ADA is primarily a dentist’s advocate, should you encounter a problem with one of their members, the ADA can be an effective advocate for patients as well.
  • Do they come recommended? - Friends, family, family physicians and pharmacists can all be great resources for finding a new dentist. If you’ve moved, even a former dentist may be of help. You want to build a rapport with your dentist, and the knowledge that people you trust have given them the thumbs-up is a great place to start.
  • Does the dentist have policies in place for dental emergencies? - You can’t exactly go to the emergency room because your child had a tooth that’s been knocked out. So, having a dentist who is available for such emergencies can be a real godsend.(Yes! Sometimes a tooth can be reattached if attention is given quickly enough!)
  • Do they accept your dental plan? Whether you’re lucky enough to have dental insurance or you carry a discount dental services plan, you’d better be sure your next dentist honors it. Don’t be embarrassed to ask. They will appreciate the question, and would be happy to pre-approve a new patient.
  • Is the office easy to get to from your home or job? This might seem not so important compared to a dentist’s qualifications and chair-side manner, but your time is important. And should you have a dental emergency - a chipped tooth, a loose filling, braces to be tightened regularly - proximity becomes particularly important.

For most people, there are hundreds of dentists to choose from in their communities. You don’t have to settle for one that is inconvenient or who doesn’t measure up. Your teeth and those of your loved ones are worth the time it takes to investigate, and worth asking a few key questions.

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