How to Choose a Dentist

Find a dentist that’s right for you.

Use these tips to find a dentist that’s right for you.

With something as important as choosing a dentist, it’s vital you make a well-informed choice. Glowing recommendations from friends and family are certainly a big help if you’re searching for any type of service provider. But you should look for other things in a dentist.

First, there are some purely practical considerations. Things like the dentist’s location. Will it be convenient for you to visit them whether you’re coming from home or from work? Location may not be an option, but if it is, and if you will need frequent care, it may make a difference.

If you need to schedule an appointment on the weekend or in the evening, will the dentist be available? Are the waiting room, office space, furnishings and equipment clean and well maintained? The answers to these types of questions can help narrow your final selection, especially if you have a large number of options.

Preventive Oral Health 

Beyond these types of practical considerations, there are number of other questions you can ask that will help you make the best choice.

Don’t think of the dentist simply as someone who can restore oral health.

At its most basic, oral health comes down to prevention and restoration. Don’t think of the dentist simply as someone who can restore oral health. Instead, see your dentist as someone who can help you understand and practice good oral health prevention strategies.

A caring dentist will take the time to explain the preventive techniques needed to keep you in the best oral health. In addition, the dentist should draw your attention to any problem areas that may be developing and provide specific instructions – and, if needed, a plan – for how to deal with the areas in question.

Emergency Dental Services

While it’s very important, prevention is only one part of good oral care. What will happen, though, if you have a dental emergency? Will the dentist see you right away if you break a tooth? What if the dentist is out of the office or on vacation?

Many dentists do make special arrangements…

Many dentists do make special arrangements, so if they’re unavailable when emergencies happen, their patients will still receive the timely care they need. That’s not always the case though. Be sure you understand a prospective dentist’s emergency procedures before you really need them.

Treatment Fees and Payment Plans

Finally, before you choose a dentist, you’ll want to find out whether specific information about treatment fees and the dentist’s payment plan is provided to patients before treatment is scheduled.

If you have dental insurance, you may need to determine whether the dentist participates in your plan. With certain types of dental insurance, pretreatment authorization for services may be required. Even if you don’t have insurance, most dentists will be happy to discuss the fees for needed services and the ways you can plan to pay.

You should never put off needed dental treatment. However, be sure to take the time you need to find the dentist that’s right for you.

Is there anything you would add to this list? Let us know in a comment below!

To learn more about dental insurance plans and dental terminology, visit the Resources section.

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10 thoughts on “How to Choose a Dentist

  1. This was just the information I needed about finding a dentist. I just moved to a different city and I have been looking for a while now. It is almost time for my 6 month check up appointment. The tip about finding what places are covered by my insurance seems like a good tip. I will have to try that.
    Emily Smith |

  2. Thanks for the advice on selecting a dentist. I liked that you mentioned finding one that cares and can help teach you proper oral care techniques. Maybe I will call my friends and family and see if they have any great dentists they recommend.

    • A recommendation from family and friends is a great way to find a dentist. Thanks for stopping by the blog Casey!

  3. I do like that you bring up the importance of emergency dental services in the article. After all, it is very easy to find a good dentist who gives you all of the normal treatment options that you should get. However, it is just as important to find a dentist that offers emergency services should something happen during non-regular hours.

  4. I agree that a good dentist also practices preventative oral health. It would seem important to find a dentist that will not only take care of your teeth when they get a problem but who will teach you how the prevent these problems. I’m looking for a new dental clinic so I’ll have to find someone who practices preventive health as well.

  5. A dentist that will take the time to explain the preventative techniques needed to keep you in the best oral health is a great choice. Making sure you know what is happening with your mouth would be important to prevent problems. Meeting with different dentists would probably help you be able to find one that you will be comfortable with.

  6. I liked when you talked about choosing a dentist that participates with your insurance. We just moved to a new town and want to make sure we continue our son’s dental treatment. As I see it, taking the time to consult with several companies and read online reviews can guide you in the right direction and find the best dental care for you.

  7. I didn’t realize how important it is to find out if a dentist offers payment plans to ensure you can afford his/her service. My wife and I just moved to a new town. Hopefully, we can use this info to prevent plaque buildup. Thanks!

  8. My husband and I just moved to a new state, and are in need help in how to choose the right dentist for us. It’s good to know that one thing we need to do is talk to different ones to discuss their fees and payment plans, that way we will know if they are someone we can work with. For us it will be great to find the right one for us, and also be able to afford it as well.

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