If you have moved and are looking for a new dentist, don't have one currently or just want to try out a different dentist, here are a few ways to find one:
1. Ask for dentist recommendations
Ask your friends, family or coworkers. Chances are one of them has a great dentist they can recommend. You could also ask your healthcare provider or a pharmacist. Members of the medical community often know one another. If you are moving, ask your current dentist for advice. They might know somebody in the town or area where you are moving. If you need a dental specialist, such as an orthodontist or periodontist, your current dentist may be able to recommend a practice.
2. Cover the basics
After you have a few recommendations for a new dentist, you may want to call or visit more than one of them. Again, your relationship with your dentist is very important, so make sure you are a good fit for one another.
Here are some questions you may want to ask the dentist’s office:1
- Do they participate in your dental plan?
- Do they have office hours that fit your schedule?
- Do they have an office close to your home or workplace?
- How do they approach
- How do they handle after-hour emergencies? (Most have arrangements with a colleague or an emergency referral service.)
- How much do common procedures usually cost?
- Do they have a missed appointments policy?
3. Request the dentist’s credentials
It’s a good idea to research the dentist’s medical background before you make a decision. Research the dentist’s education, experience and if they engage in continuous training.
You should also check if your potential dentist is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA). All ADA members are held to high ethical standards of care.2 Finally, confirm that the dentist has no history of malpractice claims.
4. Understand dental insurance coverage and costs
Study your dental insurance plan so that you know what it covers, what it doesn’t cover and which dentists are in your network. Staying within your plan’s network could help you minimize out-of-pocket costs for dental care.
5. Research dental practice reviews
Many practices have reviews from patients available online. Find a trusted online review platform and look for highly rated dentists in your area. Take a close look at any low ratings to understand the complaint.
6. Visit the dentist office
One way to get the information you need about a dental practice is to visit the office in person. You could call ahead to schedule a consultation with the dentist or even arrange a tour if the office allows.
If you decide to visit a dentist's office, make sure you take note of the following:
- Is their office clean, neat and orderly?
- Does their equipment appear to be clean and up-to-date?
- Did the dental staff answer your questions in a kind and courteous manner?
- Do the dentist and staff wear gloves and protective gear?