Tips for Choosing the Right Dentist.

choosing the right dentist

Brushing and flossing alone are no substitute for regular checkups with a dentist. These checkups are essential for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. But did you know regular checkups can also help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other medical conditions?1 While some people don't enjoy going to the dentist, if you follow these steps, you might actually enjoy your regular visits. The key to a good patient/dentist relationship is finding one you can trust with your oral health.

So 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:

  • Ask your friends, family or co-workers. Chances are one of them has a great dentist they can recommend.
  • Ask your doctor or a pharmacist. Members of the medical community often know one another.
  • If you are moving, ask your current dentist for a recommendation. They might know somebody in the town or area you are moving to.
  • Visit the American Dental Association (ADA) website at It's quick, easy and every ADA member dentist has taken a professional promise to put your health and well-being first, and is committed to dealing with you ethically and honestly.2

Brushing up on choosing a dentist

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 a few more things to consider when choosing a dentist:

  • Do they take your dental insurance? This is a big one.
  • Do they have office hours that fit your schedule?
  • Do they have an office close to your home or office?
  • How do they approach preventive dentistry?
  • If anesthesia is necessary during a dental procedure, what type(s) do they administer?
  • How do they handle after-hour emergencies? Most have arrangements with a colleague or an emergency referral service.
  • Ask them about their costs. It's okay to ask for estimates on some common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, an oral exam and cleaning, and filling a cavity.3
  • Do they have a missed-appointments policy?

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?

Just like any other doctor, you owe it to yourself to spend a little time getting to know your new dentist. Choosing one may seem like an easy task. But remember, dental care is a very personal service and you want this relationship to last for years and years.

1 Periodontal Infections and Cardiovascular Disease,

2 Doctor-Patient Relationship,

3 Finding a Dentist,