Looking for a Dentist? Here’s How to Find the Right One

July 30, 2020 |read icon 5 min read
Do you need to find a new dentist? Maybe you’ve moved or switched jobs. Or maybe you want to make a change because of the pandemic. If you’re looking for a new dentist, here’s how to find the right one.

Consider office location and hours

Most people looking for a dentist want one close to their home or work. They find it easier to schedule appointments before going to work, during lunch, or later in the day when they’re headed home. Look for dentists in your preferred area. Then check the office hours to make sure they fit your schedule.

Review cleaning and safety precautions

During the COVID-19 pandemic, dental offices are following guidelines to safely care for patients. Before scheduling a dental appointment, confirm the office’s cleaning procedures and safety protocols. Here are a few questions to ask when looking for a dentist:
  1.  How often do they disinfect the waiting rooms, treatment areas and equipment?
  2. What type of protective gear do they wear? These items may include gloves, facial masks and shields, gowns, hair nets and shoe covers.
  3. Are patients screened before treatment? How about the staff?
Learn more about what to expect at your next dental appointment.

Check patient feedback

As you’re looking for a dentist, read reviews of the dentists on your list. Make sure to read the comments posted by patients. Also ask your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, or doctor for feedback on choosing a dentist. Find out who they prefer.

Review office websites

Most dentists have a website with information about their office, along with pictures, policies, their philosophy and background information. Review each dentist’s site, looking for answers to these five questions:
  1. What is the dentist’s philosophy about dental care, including the use of medications to help you relax during treatment?
  2. What is the office policy on missed appointments?
  3. After dental services are performed, when is payment due?
  4. If you have dental insurance, does the dentist accept your plan? Is the dentist listed as “in-network” or “out-of-network”? Learn more about dental insurance terms and definitions.
  5. Look at the fees for dental procedures. How do they compare with other dentists you’re considering?
If you can’t find answers to these questions, it’s ok to call the office and ask. The right dentist should meet your needs, which will save you time and money in the long run.

Swing by for a visit

After identifying your top choices, stop by each office for a quick visit. Is there plenty of parking? It is easily accessible? As you enter the office, look around. Is the office clean and organized? Are the dentist and team members friendly and helpful? Do you feel welcome and comfortable there? If you can, meet the dentist or hygienist. After your visits, make a list of pros and cons for each office to help you find the right one.

Schedule an appointment

Pick your favorite dental office and schedule an appointment for a checkup and cleaning. Ask the dentist for a complete report on your oral health. Be suspicious if the dentist recommends a long list of treatments, such as new fillings, crown replacements or oral surgery. Request a written treatment plan. If it seems unreasonable, get a second opinion from another dentist. If you’re not comfortable with your experience, look for another dentist. Your dentist should be a trusted professional you can count on. You’ll want to look forward to your dental visits, not dread them. By keeping your mouth healthy with regular dental visits, you are helping to maintain your overall health. To save money, review these tips on how to lower dental costs.

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