10 Tips for How to Find a Good Dentist

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Hopefully, finding a dentist will result in a relationship that lasts for the long haul, since you’re really after the best dentist you can find. In short, the selection process for a good local dentist has important implications for you and your family. The American Dental Association (ADA) offers four suggestions to begin your search in finding a dentist:

  • Ask family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers for their recommendations.
  • Ask your family doctor or local pharmacist.
  • If you’re moving, ask your current dentist to make a recommendation.
  • Contact your local or state dental society. The ADA provides a list of local and state dental societies at www.mouthhealthy.org.
    The ADA also suggests calling or visiting more than one dentist before selecting one, and while this sounds like good advice, the reality of having the time for that sort of window shopping is unlikely. Instead, perhaps use these 10 things to help you consider what’s important when finding a dentist:
    1. Do they submit claims to all insurances?
    If a dentist that comes highly recommended but is out of your network, call the practice and ask if they submit claims to all insurance providers.
    2. Do they offer other payment options?
    If you do not have dental insurance a big consideration may be whether or not the practice offers patient financing options such as Credit Care. Some practices offer in-office financing, though those arrangements are becoming increasingly difficult to find.
    3. Are they ADA members?
    Members of the ADA voluntarily agree to abide by the ADA Code as a condition of membership in the Association.
    4. Location and Office Hours?
    Are they convenient to your schedule? Do they offer early mornings, evenings? Consider if it would be more convenient to have the office located near your work or home.
    5. Incentives?
    Many practices will offer an introductory discount for new patients on cleanings and exams. Some practices also have promotions in place to show their appreciation for current patients, like referral incentives or annual specials.
    6. Anesthesia Certified?
    Whether or not the dentist offers oral sedation may be of particular consideration for those who have a fear of going to the dentist.
    7. Ongoing training/Continuing education?
    It’s become more important with rapidly changing trends and treatments that dentists stay up to date with the latest advancements in dental care.
    8. What happens in the case of an emergency?
    Does the practice you are considering have emergency hours or do they refer you elsewhere (and if so, where)?
    9. Are treatment plans discussed up front, with estimates?
    When discussing treatment, are the plans covered in detail so you know what to expect, how much time and how many visits?
    10. Take a look around the office.
    Is it comfortable, neat and orderly? Are dentists and staff wearing gloves and protective gear during patient treatment? Is the staff friendly and welcoming?
    Researching how to find a good dentist might seem like a lot of work, but it needn’t be terribly difficult using these guidelines. Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful to you in your search to find a good dentist your family can trust and rely on.
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