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How to Find a Good Dentist: 8 Factors to Consider

Need help to Find a good dentist? Your dental care is important and can be a great or horrible experience.

I can help you become aware of little things that could spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

Be picky...don't just go to the first place that takes your dental insurance or promises a free Sonicare.

A referral or two is always a great place to start. Ask your neighbors or co-workers about their dentist and what they like or don't like.

Or, get a few names online.

But don't stop there...

You can learn a lot if you know what questions to ask. Here is a list of questions.

At your first appointment and every appointment after, pay attention to a few details.

If you see something that bothers you, don't be afraid to ask questions.

Most importantly, don't hesitate to make a change.

You should be completely satisfied with your choice.

8 Factors to Consider

1. The Staff

Are they at ease and comfortable talking to you and the dentist?

Ask how long have they have been there and what they like about the practice.

Dental staff want to find a good dentist to work for. If they have all been there less than a year...that's not such a good sign.

What do they like about their job? If you ask the right questions and listen closely, it's easy to tell if they sincerely like and trust their employer or if they are just repeating lines to impress you. 

2. The Dentist

Is he or she easy to talk to?

Does he ask about your goals and priorities? Listen to you? Give you options?  Show you examples?  Provide clear explanations?

Is he or she patient and compassionate? 

Involved in service organizations?  Donate time or materials to help the community?

Keep up with technology and changes in dentistry?

Watch for these signs of a bad dentist.

find a good dentist

3. Running late?

Because life is not always predictible, every office gets behind at times but you should beware if you are kept waiting for a long time every time.

You may not get the best care if your dentist or hygienist is always running late and rushing.


Or the other extreme...

You are the only client in the office every time you go. A nice steady flow of clients who seem happy and well cared for is a great sign.

4. Modern Technology

A lot has changed in dentistry and it's important to choose a dentist who keeps up with the latest dental innovations.

Intra oral cameras, cerac crowns, dental lasers invisalign, and digital x-rays, are some of the latest trends in dentistry.

Technology is only one factor so don't cross someone off your list if they don’t have all the latest and greatest and don't assume they are a great dentist just because they have all the latest technology.

5. A Gentle Touch

Dentists and hygienists can be gentle if they try.

Your visit may not be entirely painless but every effort should be made to keep you informed and as comfortable as possible.

If you are a little nervous, ask about additional touches for your comfort. Ipods, movies, pillows or nitrous oxide can make your visit more comfortable.

find a good dentist

6. Atmosphere

This sets the tone of the office and can make you feel relaxed or add stress.  A dental office should be clean, friendly and professional.

Look around and take note of the condition of the office.

It doesn't have to be fancy, but should be clean, comfortable and not cluttered.

Hopefully there is a friendly face or two to make you feel welcome.

7. Price

The most expensive dentist in town is not necessarily the best. Neither is the cheapest.

Check prices and see who takes your insurance and don't forget to ask if they are in your network.

8. Too many changes in staff

If there are always new faces beware. But...don't confuse growth with high turn over.

It's a good sign if there are new faces aslong as some of the familiar ones are still there. It shows that people are being well cared for and the practice is growing.


Questions to Ask

Is the dentist in-network?  

What are the financial policies?

Do they bill your insurance provider for you or will you have to submit your own claim?

Are payments accepted?

Are there interest charges or late fees?

Is there a charge for missed appointments?

What are the office hours?

What if you have an emergency after hours?

What dental technology is used in the practice?

What are the next available appointment times?

Compare prices

Don't be shy about asking for price information. Ask for quotes for these three basic procedures.

  • Regular cleaning
  • One surface filling
  • Crown

Remember, the cheapest may not be the best. A dentist with fees that are not too high or too low for your area is the best choice.

At your first appointment take note...

How clean is the office?

It's great if your dentist...

  • Uses disposable supplies.
  • Has everything set up and ready for you.
  • Removes gloves before reaching in a drawer or cupboard.


Do you feel cared for or rushed?

  • Did you understand what procedures are being done and why?
  • Are they concerned about your comfort and your priorities?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of treatment that has been recommended. Do you know if it is optional?
  • Do you know how much it will cost and what your out of pocket expense will be?
  • Do you feel confident about getting further treatment?
  • Use these steps to research your options. It takes a little time and effort but is worth it. You will be happier with the result.

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