Knowing you’ve found the right dentist—someone you can trust your dental health to for years of positive checkups—is a good feeling. But finding that dentist can feel a bit like choosing the right toothpaste—with so many options, how do you know which one is right for you? We’ve outlined a few proven tips below to help you narrow down your options and select your new dentist.
Ask people you trust.
It may seem like an obvious step, but asking your family, friends and coworkers if they have a dentist they recommend (or dentists to avoid) can save you time Googling dentists and reading websites that don’t get to the heart of the experience you’ll ultimately have. Be sure to ask what they like about the dentist, how long they’ve seen their dentist, and what types of procedures they offer in their office.
Check your dental health benefits.
Your dental health plan may determine which dentist you choose (or at least narrow down your options). For example, dental HMOs limit your choice of dentist to a member of the HMO network. And if you have a PPO plan, visiting a network dentist can make a difference in your co-payment levels. Not sure what your insurance covers? Check with your insurance provider first, as they may have a list of preferred dentists. You can also confirm your benefits over the phone with a dentist office you’re considering.
Feeling overwhelmed by the volume of dentists in your area? Factoring in the accessibility of your dentist can help you know where to look first. While seeing a great dentist is worth a few more minutes in the car, take a look at the dentist offices close to your work or home first, and then start a wider search if you’re not satisfied with those options.
Do your research.
Think you’ve found a dentist worth checking out? Be sure to look for consumer reviews and check their credentials first. You’ll want to find out if the dentist belongs to a dentistry organization, such as the American Dental Association (ADA), Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), or another area dental society. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Which procedures do they complete in-office and which are referred out to other dental professionals? Do they specialize in a specific treatment you’re considering, such as cosmetic dentistry? Is financing an option? How long before they can see you? If you have an emergency, can they schedule you sooner? Always be sure to check their availability, as you may need to schedule your checkups and cleanings several months in advance.
Schedule a consultation.
Scheduling a call or in-person consultation before having any work performed is a smart way to vet a potential dentist. You may also choose to make an appointment and evaluate the dentist after your initial visit. Was the office clean? Was the staff courteous and professional? Did they seem to genuinely care about your dental health? Did they make you feel comfortable?
It’s OK to change your mind.
Chances are you’ll find a dentist you like if you follow the steps above. But if you’re feeling anxious about picking the perfect dentist, it may help to remember that you can always change dentist offices if you feel you made the wrong choice.
Curious about your coverage or which toothpaste you should be using? Call Dr. Phil Hodge Dentistry at (253) 852-4746